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On Tuesday, Feb. 8, the Senate Commerce and Energy Committee heard testimony on two bills that would support funding for workforce housing infrastructure.
The first bill considered was Senate Bill 53, an “act to make an appropriation to increase workforce housing and to declare and emergency.” This bill was introduced at the request of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and initially would have appropriated $200 million to GOED to be administered through the Local Infrastructure Improvement Program.
At the hearing, two friendly amendments were introduced. Amendment 53A changed how the $200 million is appropriated by sending $100 million ($50 million in state funds and $50 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds) for grants that will run through GOED and the other $100 million into the Housing Opportunity Fund at the South Dakota Housing Development Authority (SDHDA) for revolving loans with flexible terms. GOED grants will still be administered through the Local Infrastructure Improvement Program while SDHDA will use the money to provide revolving loans for costs relating to housing infrastructure.
In addition, Amendment 53A requires GOED to make 50% of their funding available to municipalities with a population less than 50,000. Amendment 53C implements reporting requirements.
In order to make amendment 53A work, the legislature is proposing changes to the Housing Opportunity Fund via an amended Senate Bill 65. This bill, as amended by 65C, adds housing infrastructure as an eligible expense under the Housing Opportunity Fund and removes some of the limitations regarding income limits and geographical distribution guidelines from project focused solely on housing infrastructure.
President and CEO of the Greater Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce, Jeff Griffin, testified in support of these two bills as amended. The Chamber will continue to support this effort.
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