Happy Wednesday! Megan here.
First things first, this issue is sponsored by the 2nd Annual Woman to Woman Conference.
The Woman to Woman Conference is the ultimate event for female entrepreneurs to get inspired, learn from the best and take your business to the next level. Tickets are still available for the Sept. 9 event. Find details and the full lineup of speakers here.
Weather check: Well, we need the moisture
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This week, I'll look at how community groups are working to secure funding to further affordable housing. I've also got an update on why the streets department needs more money this year. Plus, get a look at some big projects happening in the parks department in 2024 and beyond.
And now, news:
How a trust fund could support affordable housing
Simplified: Sioux Falls doesn't have enough affordable housing options available for people with low wages, from preschool teachers to grocery store clerks to hospitality workers. Here's how a $6 million trust fund could help bridge the gap.
Why it matters
The average rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Sioux Falls is $1,030 per month. For that to be considered "affordable" based on federal definitions, a family of four would need to be making more than $41,000 annually – but nearly 20,000 Sioux Falls households live on less than $35,000 annually.
And while the city has various resources to support housing for folks who fall within 60 to 80% of the area median income (AMI), there's still a gap between what developers need to charge for rent to recoup building costs and what extremely low-income – think 30 to 40% AMI (i.e. $30,000 for a family of four)– can afford to pay.
That's where a proposed $6 million affordable housing trust fund would come into play. It's a plan to help bridge the funding gap, and it's already got the support of the city's homeless task force and some city councilors, including Councilor Curt Soehl, who said he plans to bring a proposal for the council to start a housing trust fund.
"This is just a continuation of us trying to make a better housing situation in Sioux Falls," Soehl said.
Why the street department needs more money
Simplified: The Sioux Falls Highways and Streets Department is set to get up to $7 million in extra funds this year, if the City Council gives final approval to a pair of proposals advanced Tuesday.
Why it matters
Streets Operation Manager Dustin Hansen said the street department is expected to run out of the money in its existing $10.3 million budget for winter by the end of September. An extra $5 million supplement will fund expenses for the rest of the year.
The department is also asking for the option to spend up to an additional $2 million if needed on street maintenance and snow removal for the rest of the year.
Part of the need for additional funds is increasing costs due to inflation, Hansen said, but one of the biggest factors is the amount of snow received last winter and the additional snow removal costs that resulted.
"It got to where it was so much (snow) where we were actually taking up lane space," Hansen said. "That’s what really impacted our budget most of all. We had to pick up that snow, and hire contractors to haul that snow to snow dump sites."
This grant will support mental health for Latino teens
This is a paid piece from the Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation.
Simplified: A new grant from the Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation will create a support group to promote the mental health of Latino teens. Here's what you need to know about Atrevete a Ser tu Mismo (Dare to Be Yourself).
Why it matters
Atrevete a Ser tu Mismo will specifically target Latino teens age 14-17 who have recently immigrated to the United States. The goal is to help them navigate all of the challenges that come with moving to a new country, language barriers and being a teenager.
Local nonprofit Caminando Juntos – a group that focuses on immigration legal services and more case management for Latinos in the community – will lead the support group, which will run 10 weeks starting this month and cover topics such as emotional intelligence, healthy communication, mindset, self esteem and future aspirations.
The grant illustrates the Foundation's commitment to advancing mental health and helping kids succeed – two of its key focus areas.
“Being a teenager in 2023 is hard enough. Imagine being a teen who is also navigating a language barrier, acclimating to a new country, potentially dealing with past trauma, and more," said Patrick Gale, vice president for community investment. "As a community, we need to ensure these kids have the resources they need to be successful in all facets of life — socially, academically, mentally and physically."
Super Simplified Stories
Council advances updated Airbnb/short-term rental rules. The Sioux Falls City Council advanced a proposal on Tuesday to update the rules for short-term rentals in the joint jurisdiction areas where the city and county overlaps. More background on that here. That moves now to a vote on final approval on Tuesday, Aug. 22, and it's possible that could see changes, as Councilor Greg Neitzert announced plans to bring an amendment to make the joint area rules the exact same as the county rules.
Teachers, get some free books. Teachers can get 25 free books for their classrooms at Reach Literacy today (Wednesday), and homeschool teachers can come Aug. 10-11. Stop by the bookstore in the Western Mall at 2101 W. 41st Street, Suite 23.
South-side pool? New golf course? What we learned about future park plans during budget talks
Simplified: The city parks and recreation department gave a closer look at its proposed nearly $43 million budget for next year to the City Council on Tuesday – and conversations revealed some of the larger plans and wish list items beyond the next year, as well.
Why it matters
As Councilor Rich Merkouris said, the parks and recreation portion of the budget is among the most "fun" part of budget discussions because it is money that directly impacts anyone in town who uses the parks system.
One big ticket item in the parks budget is the need to keep wages competitive, especially for part-time and seasonal jobs like lifeguards. Additionally, inflation has impacted the department's costs in several areas, Parks Director Don Kearney said.
The parks department also has some big spending planned for 2024 – including continued work to replace local pools, acquire land for future growth, and create more spaces for community gatherings and recreation.
"We remain committed to investing in our parks system knowing the value these facilities and services provide to our community," Kearney said.
THIS AND THAT
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