Simplified: Sioux Falls doesn't have enough studio and one-bedroom apartments for its poorest residents, according to research released Tuesday from Augustana University.

Why it matters

  • The data released Tuesday provides an update to a 2021 citywide housing study, which looked at the extent of the need for affordable housing in Sioux Falls.
  • The goal with this update was to get a more specific look at who exactly is in the lowest income bracket, and what type of housing do they need, according to Suzanne Smith, associate vice president of enterprise data analytics and Augustana Research Institute.
  • It's no surprise, Smith noted, that the greatest housing shortage is among those who make 30% or less the area median income (AMI) – which is $17,350 for an individual and $26,500 for a family of four. And this study shows the greatest need among those folks is for studio or one-bedroom housing.
"The biggest takeaway for me is actually optimism," Smith told Sioux Falls Simplified. "In a way, it's easier to build some smaller units that are super affordable, so knowing that we don't necessarily need to build a bunch of three-bedroom apartments that are going to rent for $600 per month – it's promising news."

Tell me more

The study showed that right now, Sioux Falls is short by nearly 4,000 housing units for extremely low income people – with the greatest portion of that need for zero to one-bedroom units.

  • And while there are also shortages for middle income people – those making between 80 to 100% AMI – those people have more opportunities to find housing by opting for a place that costs less than the maximum they'd be able to afford.

During a presentation to City Council on Tuesday, Smith noted that many of the people who struggle the most to find housing are people who are elderly or disabled and thus on a fixed income.

  • Councilor Rich Merkouris estimated that another segment of people who struggle to find housing are those impacted by the criminal justice system – noting that the needs will be different for those different groups.
"When we give money to an entity to construct a home or an apartment, we have to give serious consideration for management or wraparound services," Merkouris said.

What happens next?

The city has $4 million in one-time funds to help address this issue, and the plan for that money is nearing approval from the city's affordable housing board. It'll then move to the City Council.