Elevate hosts panel of community leaders to talk affordable housing strategy

RAPID CITY, S.D. — It’s a story we know all too well: housing prices are up – way up – in Rapid City.

“Rents increased more in the past year than in the past five years combined,” says Rapid City Mayor Steve Allender.

Rental prices went up 9.9% total from 2016 to 2020, but went up 10.9% in 2021 alone.

“The rental trends are quite alarming; and [a] 2% vacancy. For one thing, it means that housing is scarce, but it also means that there’s no incentives for rents to come down,” Mayor Allender says.

He says it’s not just a government problem, or a developer problem, but that it’s a community problem.

Hear Mayor Allender discuss possible expansion and annexation of surrounding areas:

Elevate Rapid City partners with the city and the John T. Vucurevich Foundation to address the housing need. Elevate CEO Tom Johnson says they’ve hired a housing coordinator to work with developers. The coordinator will also work to put together a set of economic indicators for housing.

“We can go into the deep-dives of housing on a consistent basis to tell the community where we’re at, how we’re making progress and what we plan to do,” Johnson says.

Housing Market 5In addition to those indicators, they’re also commissioning a new housing study – the first since 2017 – which should be done by the fall.

The Black Hills Area Community Foundation says the first recipient of their low-interest loan has been issued to CommonBond, which will be breaking ground in May.

“They focus on that lower end of the market, and they also provide support services to the residents of those properties,” says Black Hills Area Community Foundation CEO Liz Hamburg.

But the need is great.

“We’re already possibly 6,000 units behind with housing right now,” Johnson says. “We think we’re going to need another 2,000 per year for the next ten years.”

Categories: Evergreen, Local News