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Housing crisis deeply affecting those with past criminal record, forcing many to hotel living

Housing crisis for those after prison, many forced to hotels
Published: May. 10, 2022 at 9:31 AM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -

When an inmate is granted parole, one of the conditions is transitional housing. There are several places, all with different admission rules. The St. Francis house is not exclusive to those exiting prison but welcomes those without a sexual or violent crime history.

Executive Director Julie Becker says their program is not designed for emergency overnight stays, but to work with each guest to develop a new way of life.

“We ask them to stay a minimum of 60 days, and they can stay here up to a year. We require all of our guests to obtain and maintain full-time employment unless they are on social security retirement or disability benefits, and then they can work part-time,” said Becker.

While staying at the St. Francis house, guests pay off their debt, make restitution and put money in savings.

Becker has seen a jump from 64% to 92% percent capacity, Part of the growth is a higher number of rooms for those exiting prison, and they’re the fortunate ones, not having to turn those who qualify away.

Reporter Beth Warden asks, “Have you heard at all if any of the other halfway houses are full?”

“Yes, they are,” said Becker.

We checked with the Family connection women’s halfway house. They had one opening and had to turn ten away.

The glory house has a 30 to 60-day waiting period to move in. Directors say the wait is not ideal, but that’s nothing compared to what residents face when their stay is over.

Crime-free housing eliminates many apartment locations; low-income apartments are hard to find, to low budget hotels may not support a drug-free lifestyle.

Those who’ve been watching have seen this complicated housing crisis on the horizon for years.

“The halfway houses, Family Connection, Bishop Dudley, us: we’re all seeing a significant impact of people needing housing because they can’t afford it or there isn’t safe and affordable housing,” said Becker.

At the St. Francis house, Becker believes there could be a time very soon that they too are at 100% capacity.

The Glory house also offers apartments to those exiting a halfway house, but there is a waiting list.

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