I told you the Legislature’s Interim Workforce Housing Needs Committee would ignore the root cause of South Dakota’s lack of affordable housing (i.e., wages that make houses affordable). As a bonus, Representative Tim Goodwin (R-30/Rapid City) is also ignoring his own Republican values and advocating socialist interventions in the housing marketplace:
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 6500 homes in the state and probably closer to a 10,000 home-shortage figure. I asked what it would take to produce 1500 homes. Well, 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 [Rep. Tim Goodwin, “Home Dedication in Hot Springs, sD,” blog, 2021.06.30].
The Governor’s House Project is South Dakota’s 25-year-old program that now conscripts over 140 inmates at the Springfield prison to build houses. The state contracts with 30-some lucky vendors for materials and sells the prisoner-built two-bedroom 1,008-square-foot houses for $57,700 and the three-bedroom 1,200-square-foot units for $68,900. We keep those prices low by not fairly compensating the men who do the actual building… so, wait—I guess the Governor’s Houses really do epitomize Republican values.