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Housing Shortage In Rural Communities

August 7, 2014, 6:13 PM by Erich Schaffhauser

Housing Shortage In Rural Communities

Rural communities in South Dakota are recruiting people to fill jobs.

We've talked about healthcare and education needs.

But the question is- will those people have a place to live if they move to rural communities to fill jobs? The answer isn't always yes.

In fact, there are several communities facing housing shortages.

When I moved to Aberdeen seven years ago, there was a housing shortage but developers have added several units since then, including this one behind me.

West of here in Mobridge, community members are hoping for a similar response to their housing shortage.

Where it sits in Mobridge, this nursing home 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, executive director Sharon 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 in town.

"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.

Harley 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.

In the meantime, Martin says her company might 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.

I talked with Aberdeen's mayor today and he says the city hired a housing study as well that showed a shortage at the time. But it took a few years before developers built.

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