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August 07, 2014 06:34 PM

Housing Shortages In Rural Communities

Mobridge, SD

Housing shortages in some rural communities are affecting economic development.

Rural communities in South Dakota are recruiting people to fill jobs. A couple of the high-need areas are education and healthcare. Some of those communities are short on housing.

Where it sits in Mobridge, Golden Living Center reflects the city's water tower and its need for more housing.

"We're actively looking for more nurses and CNAs," executive director Sharon Martin said. "There is no housing for them at this point. That's what I'm finding out."

In fact, Martin says she's even lost potential employees because of a lack of housing.

At the hospital and clinic in town, human resources director Keri Wientjes says that hasn't happened at her facility. Still, she says it can be a challenge and she'd like to see more rental options available.

"When you first get here, a lot of times people want to rent first before they make those decisions on exactly where they want to live," Wientjes said.

"We have homes for sale but, you know, the rental opportunities is what we're lacking," Harley Overseth said.

Overseth is part of a steering committee looking for solutions to the housing shortage. It's working with the non-profit organization Dakota Resources.

The committee will meet later this month and plans to hire a study that will outline needs in the community.

"We're going to do a study, try to formulate a plan and go forward in solving our housing issues," Overseth said.

Within the past decade Aberdeen hired a study that indicated a housing shortage. Developers have added hundreds of housing units since that time, but mayor Mike Levsen said it took a few years for developers to build.

In Mobridge, Martin says the need exists now. She says her company might even buy housing.

"To actually provide housing for potential people coming to Mobridge so we're working on it on our end as well," Martin said.


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