How a new partnership and potential $4 million grant will address unique housing needs
Simplified: This summer, Minnehaha County received a $775,000 grant to create an incarcerated housing plan. Now the county is asking for an additional $4 million to help fund a partnership with the Glory House to meet those unique housing needs.
why is it important
- The county was one of four regions in the country to receive this grant of the MacArthur Foundation and the Urban Institute. After a six-month planning period (begun in early summer), each of the four communities will submit additional funding requests – Minnehaha asks for $4 million to support his new project “Just Home”.
- Accessible and affordable housing is a hot topic and pressing issue in Sioux Falls right now. But many existing affordable housing programs are not accessible to people with a crime on their record.
- If the county gets the money it’s asking for, $3 million is expected to fund a partnership with the Glory Housein which the non-profit organization will provide apartments for participants of the Just Home project in its new apartment building under construction.
“We certainly want (the housing) to be safe – we want to be sure that it’s well maintained,” said Kari Benz, county social services director. “Some of the comments we heard on a fairly regular basis while working with people who were impacted (by justice) were simply, ‘I don’t want to live in a shit hole.'”
Who will this grant and partnership help?
A main objective of the grant is to specifically help people who have not only been impacted by the justice system, but also come from groups that are disproportionately represented in jails and prisons.
- In our region, Native Americans are disproportionately incarcerated.
Through meetings with stakeholders, Benz and the Just Home team have identified two separate groups that need help.
- People who have had good supports in place, but are still struggling. For example, someone who has a criminal record and is now working in drug court, or someone who simply cannot find an affordable place.
- People who need more intense case management and holistic support. This is the group that the Glory House partnership really aims to serve.
“We really want people who have struggled with criminal activity in the past or mental health issues, addictions to have the opportunity to lead healthy and stable lives,” said Nicki Dvorak, president of the Glory House. .
In addition to the Glory House partnership, the grant is also help county secure 21 federal Section 8 housing vouchersthat help low-income people find housing.
Tell me more about the partnership
The original agreement is for the Glory House to have 15 units available to Just Home Project participants in its new facility.
- There are no clear timetable yet, however, for when the new installation is complete and open. But that likely won’t be until late 2023, Benz said.
Also still in development is the specific programming the Glory House will offer Just Home tenants, though it’s likely to mirror existing programming, Dvorak said.
- This means that there may be tenants who receive the services of Glory House or enter into cost-sharing agreements if they perform random drug tests.
- There may also be tenants who already receive services from other places in town like Southeastern Behavioral or other nonprofits.
What happens next?
The department has until December 16 to submit any revisions to the Housing Investment Action Plan that it sends to the MacArthur Foundation.
- Then it will be a matter of waiting to see if the $4 million funding is approved.
“I think we have a good shot,” Benz said. “I think we have a really solid plan, and hopefully if we get approved, our goal would be to start accessing those vouchers immediately.”
For the House of Glory, next steps are to continue to meet with stakeholders on the specific needs of Native Americans who have been impacted by the justice system.
- As the conversations and programming develop, Dvorak hopes they can start filling vacancies in their existing apartment building with Just Home participants even before the new building was finished.