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Sanford Expansion And Impact On Affordable Housing

May 9, 2014, 6:09 PM by Leland Steva

Sanford Expansion And Impact On Affordable Housing

Sanford Health is building a new parking lot for its employees, demolishing 23 homes in the process. The project forced many central Sioux Falls families to move.

Rose Dougherty has managed homes owned by Sanford for eight years. She found out about the homes being demolished around eight weeks ago. That's when she started notifying families through phone calls, letters and knocking on doors, but for one family, the transition hasn't been smooth.

News that homes near Sanford Health will become a parking lot was tough to take.

"We had one family that has six children that we still to this day have not found a four-bedroom house for them to move into and we have been looking all over Sioux Falls, other than what we just had. It's been tough for them because four bedrooms are not available in that price range," Dougherty said.

Dougherty says the homes bought and rented out by Sanford were just below market price, with one bedroom homes starting at $550 up to four bedrooms at $900.

Les Kinstad, the Director of Sioux Falls Affordable Housing, says Sioux Falls is a growing community that isn't growing enough affordable housing.

"When you take a look at any of the statistics or any of the numbers we have in terms of the number of housing units that we're building that you can call affordable housing units, we're lagging behind the market probably between at least 30 percent," Kinstad said.

Yet Kinstad doesn't think the demolition of these homes is a big deal in the big picture of the city.

"The 10, 15, or 20 houses that are involved in that that's a very, very, very small part of the housing stocks. To make a connection between Sanford expanding and needing to provide more parking for a growing health care organization and the housing crisis would be a real stretch," Kinstad said.

Dougherty was able to transfer some families to other homes her company rents. But the Sanford expansion is hurting her bottom line.

"It definitely affects our income because of it, but there will be more coming in," Dougherty said.

Kinstad says there are resources for people interested in getting affordable housing. If interested, people should call The Help Line Center at 211 or (605) 339-4357 or his office at (605) 367 8180.

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