Governor’s House Program expands partnerships with private industry

As part of a new partnership between private industry and the Governor's House Program, changes approved by the South Dakota Housing Development Authority now allow qualified families to buy their "governor's house" through private builders.

Other important changes to the program from this partnership include:

  • Annual income limits have been set at $42,280 for households of one or two people and $48,320 for households of three or more, in recognition of the ongoing gap in affordable housing.
  • School districts in rural communities may now purchase "governor's houses" as a tool to recruit and retain quality teachers.
  • Developers will be allowed to purchase "governor's houses" for rental purposes when financed under programs that require long-term affordable rent limits targeting low-income families.

Under the new rules, approved builders can purchase a "governor's house," develop the lot and foundation, place the home and offer it for sale to qualified buyers.

This private industry partnership can make the process of buying a "governor's house" simpler for buyers. Before the rule change, the buyer had to contract separately for the land, foundation, sidewalks and other site work. Now they can purchase a home directly from a builder that is ready to move into, if they prefer, which can greatly reduce not only challenges but also costs to the qualified buyer.

"The benefit of working with a local builder is that they can help with the lot preparation, foundation, building permits, and the numerous other aspects that go into building a home, which can be overwhelming to many new homeowners" said Paul Kostboth, SDHDA's single family development director. "Also, the project stays local, which is important for many communities."

The houses will continue to be constructed by medium-security inmates at the Mike Durfee State Prison in Springfield, and then moved to home sites across South Dakota. Since it began in 1996, the program has made home ownership a reality for 1,985 South Dakota families. It has also taught a useful trade to thousands of prisoners as they prepare to reenter society.

"Governor's houses" are moderately priced at $35,500 for a two-bedroom, one bath, 1,008-square-foot home, which includes delivery to the customer's site. The houses are well-built, low-maintenance, energy-efficient alternatives for South Dakotans with limited means. No tax dollars are spent to build, sell or deliver the "governor's houses."

For more information about the program, visit www.sdhda.org.

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