PIERRE, S.D. – February 18, 2010 – (RealEstateRama) — As it enters its 15th year, the South Dakota Governor’s House Program has built and placed more than 1,800 homes in South Dakota according to the South Dakota Housing Development Authority, which administers the program.
The program, which began in 1996, is available to the elderly, people with disabilities, and income-qualified families in South Dakota. Medium-security prisoners at the Mike Durfee State Prison in Springfield construct the homes on the prison campus. The structures are transported by truck to buyers across South Dakota. Local contractors build the foundations, basements, sidewalks and other onsite improvements.
“SDHDA is proud of the Governor’s House Program and the benefits it provides to communities — no matter how big or small,” said Governor’s House Program Director Paul Kostboth. “South Dakotans who might otherwise be unable to afford homes become homeowners, and inmates benefit by being trained in a trade they can use after release from prison. In addition, communities increase their tax base, and jobs are provided for local contractors.”
No tax dollars are spent to build, sell or place the Governor’s Houses. In fact, the program pays municipal taxes and state excise taxes. The bulk of the materials are purchased in South Dakota, and the home buyers pay property taxes on their homes.
The Governor’s House Program has helped people like Julian Witcher maintain their independence. Witcher, a rodeo cowboy, was paralyzed below the collarbone during the Cheyenne Frontier Days in 2008. He and his parents turned to the South Dakota Housing Development Authority. Julian now lives in a Governor’s House on his parents’ ranch, south of Wall.
Governor’s houses are priced at $33,000 each. Each home is 1,008 square feet and provides a pair of first-floor bedrooms. Exterior walls are framed with 2-inch by 6-inch studs, and each home is well-insulated and low-maintenance.
The buyer provides the building site, the foundation, utility hookups, floor coverings and appliances. Financing for the homes is available through local lenders.
According to Michael Winder, spokesman for the South Dakota Department of Corrections, the program currently employs about 79 inmates per day. He said the Governor’s House Program is a valuable tool for training and rehabilitating inmates.
“The program gives them jobs and teaches them employable skills,” Winder said. “They also develop the work ethic of getting up every day and going to work, and that helps prepare them for their eventual release.”
A sister program, the Governor’s Daycare Facility, has helped relieve day-care needs in almost 60 communities in South Dakota, providing families access to day care so they can continue working and living in communities of their choosing. Springfield inmates also construct the day-care centers, which are transported to the communities that need them.
The South Dakota Housing Development Authority also administers the First-Time Homebuyer, Employer Mortgage Assistance, Loan Assistance and Community Home Improvement programs, as well as housing tax credits, the HOME investment Partnership and bond financing to improve the affordability of housing in South Dakota.
For more information about the Governor’s House Program or any South Dakota Housing Development Authority Program call 1-800-540-4241.