Simplified: Minnehaha County's "Just Home" program is focused on finding housing for justice-impacted people. This year, a partnership with the St. Francis House will mean even more available housing units for these hard-to-house folks.

Why it matters

  • The Just Home project initially started a few years back when the county was awarded a MacArthur Foundation grant to address the significant challenges people face in finding housing after incarceration.
  • As a result of that work, the county entered a partnership with the Glory House to create 51 new apartments that are expected to be completed in June, said Kari Benz, county director of human services. Those future tenants will also have access to case management and other supports
  • More recently, a partnership with the St. Francis House will provide 10 more apartment units, as well as even more comprehensive support with access to the nonprofit's slate of services.
"Not only is that (housing) affordable, but it's also safe," St. Francis House Director Julie Becker said. "Just because they're judicially impacted doesn't mean they don't deserve a place to live that is safe."

Tell me more about the new partnership

St. Francis House is in the process of purchasing the Copper Arms apartment building on 7th Street, about a block away from the nonprofit's main location.

  • The nonprofit will own the building, and the county will help provide funding for programming and staff needed to help new tenants.

Accessible and affordable housing is hard to find in Sioux Falls, and it gets even harder when a person has a felony on their record – which can disqualify them from many existing affordable housing programs.

  • At its core, Just Home aims to not only help those impacted by the justice system, but also people who come from groups disproportionately represented in jail and prison – which, in Sioux Falls, tends to be Native Americans.

What happens next?

St. Francis House plans to close on the new apartment building in mid-April, Becker said. The nonprofit is also looking more broadly at ways to support affordable housing in town.

"I'm tired of talking about the lack of affordable housing," Becker said. "So we're just going to do it."