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SD Legislature’s “Workforce Housing Needs” committee plans bills for 2022 legislative session

The interim committee met four times over the summer to study ways that they can combat the housing shortage currently effecting South Dakota.
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Published: Nov. 22, 2021 at 5:54 PM CST
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PIERRE, S.D. - As housing availability continues to be an issue for much of South Dakota, a number of state lawmakers are considering what fixes they can bring to the 2022 state legislative session.

“We have a lot of businesses that want to come to our state and expand,” said State Sen. Casey Crabtree (R-Madison). Crabtree was vice-chair for the “Workforce Housing Needs” committee over the summer. “However, we have an issue with housing and we have to move the ball on it.”

However, the legislature’s “Workforce Housing Committee” says that the change needs to go deeper than just building more houses. The committee met four times over the summer to hear testimony from those effected by the shortage of housing, and ways to improve the problem.

State Rep. Roger Chase (R-Huron), chair of the committee, testified before the legislature’s Executive Board that infrastructure in the state is particularly lacking, and needs better funding.

“Concerns for developing lots, land to build units on or to create places to put living units on, infrastructure is part of all that,” Chase testified. “Whether it was water, sewer, or streets. Many communities are struggling with this topic, so what you will see between now and the beginning of session is an infrastructure development plan.”

According to lawmakers, some who testified before the committee over the summer said that roughly 60% of their income was paid towards housing expenses. Committee members hope that “cutting red tape” and better funding for state organizations such as the South Dakota Housing Development Authority will help residents.

“We have to find a good balance between smart investments in infrastructure, and also cutting red tape when we see that,” Crabtree explained. “Whether that be at the state level, or helping our local governments do that, that is kind of going to be the key moving forward with this.”

Chase also testified that he would like to see more awareness brought to resources that already exist for residents so that they can be able to utilize them moving forward.

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