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GOODWIN: Is it time to expand Governor's House program?
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GOODWIN: Is it time to expand Governor's House program?

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Still greener than green at our house; got two inches of rain the other night. We hope and pray this last moisture blast continues east across South Dakota.

I had the privilege to speak at the home dedication for Lacy Piazza of Hot Springs. This was a gratifying experience because Lacy got into a Governor’s House in conjunction with the Black Hills area Habitat for Humanity. As you probably know, the late great Gov. Janklow started the Governor’s House program. The Governor’s House program was created to get low-income families into affordable housing, while at the same time giving the prisoner at a minimum-security penitentiary a skill that they could use once they are released from prison. I was surprised and thankful that the Executive Director of South Dakota Housing Development Authority came from Pierre to the dedication. Yep, Lori Polak drove from Pierre for this great event and gave a short talk.

Also present was Hot Springs Mayor Bob Nelson, who also spoke. Thanks, Mayor! Scott Ergman from Rapid City is the Executive Director of the Black Hills Habitat for Humanity office. Another nice touch was all the local businesses who furnished the place with basic essentials all the way down to – yep – toilet paper.

Speaking of housing, Lori Polak XO of SDHDA also came before our Work Force Housing Committee in Pierre a couple of weeks ago. When asked about how many Governor’s Houses can be built by the prison each year, she answered 150. Well, 150 is great, but we are conservatively short 6,500 homes in the state and probably closer to a 10,000 home-shortage figure.

I asked what it would take to produce 1,500 homes. It wasn’t received well. Heck, let’s let the main penitentiary in Sioux Falls start constructing Governor’s Homes. Also, why don’t we do it with prisoners who come to Rapid City on good behavior work-release status? For that matter, what about the 800 prisoners housed in Pennington County Jail? All good questions.

Also, to be realistic in solving this severe housing shortage, we need to see about manufactured homes. What we used to call trailer houses. Today, they are made much better and are very energy efficient. They can be constructed rapidly in an assembly line. All these are just possibilities. Its time to quit talking and come up with answers to this severe work force housing issue. Until next week…

Tim R. Goodwin, District 30 Representative

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