PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — The South Dakota Housing Development Authority is moving forward with proposed rules for spreading the $200 million the Legislature wants spent on affordable housing infrastructure.
The authority’s governing board on Tuesday gave initial approval to the package and set the date for a public hearing.
The specific date however was never mentioned during the meeting. Chas Olson, the authority’s interim director, told KELOLAND News afterward that he still needed clearance to proceed with the hearing from the governor’s commissioner of economic development, Steve Westra. That sign-off was expected yet Tuesday.
Olson told the board that the package had changed in the six weeks since the original drafts of the allocation plan and the rules were posted on the SDHDA website. He said the draft allocation plan now is also part of the proposed rules package.
“Everybody understands the urgency of this,” Olson told board members.
The final proposed package can be viewed here.
Olson distributed a memo to the board highlighting the various changes. Among them, no for-profit entity could directly apply for the money, and a project is eligible if construction began after the 2023 bill was signed into law on February 1.
The Legislature and Governor Kristi Noem reached a stalemate last year. The sides agreed on the need for $200 million, but lawmakers passed a package that was different than what the governor had proposed. She then wrote a letter to them raising questions about the legislation but also signed it into law. The authority’s board never proceeded with distributing the money.
During the 2023 session, the Legislature made the funding its first priority and sped the new bill through. The governor signed it into law, but the money still remains unspent, because the authority now must go through the administrative rules process. Last month, the authority’s director, Lorraine Polak, resigned, and last week the governor announced Westra — the highest-paid member of her Cabinet — would be resigning, too.
Olson told the Legislature’s Executive Board on April 20 that the first grants and loans wouldn’t go out until probably September.