Black Hills Area Community Foundation establishes new affordable housing fund
RAPID CITY, S.D. — The issue of affordable housing across Pennington county isn’t going anywhere, but the Black Hills Area Community Foundation (BHACF) is developing a new approach. That new development is the founding of the Strategic Housing Trust Fund.
According to the Black Hills Knowledge Network, more than half of households earning less than $20,000 per year in 2016 spent more than half of their income on housing. As a result, many low-income households are forced to buy up, while high-income households are buying down – creating higher prices in the mid-range housing market.
“We know that we are short about 3,500 units, for people that need rents below $900, they just don’t exist,” said BHACF CEO, Liz Hamburg. “Especially now, the housing market’s particularly tough with the influx of people coming into the Black Hills and with the base population growing, the need we see now is probably going to increase.”
Through the fund, for-profits and nonprofits could receive loans to build or renovate housing that is guaranteed to be and remain affordable. The loan would be repaid by the organization and then rolled into new projects.
“So, we’re focusing on multi-family housing so that we can house as many people as possible with the investment; rather than doing one home at a time, we’re looking at apartment complex kind of projects,” said Hamburg.
In other cities, money for affordable housing is usually granted by the city. This fund would allow for the county, state, and even individuals to contribute. To date, Elevate Rapid City has donated $150,000 and another donor has agreed to match donations up to $50,000. Currently, funds would go to housing in Pennington County, but the BHACF supports seven counties in the Black Hills and hopes to eventually expand funding.