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Housing Committee Suggests Housing Coordinator, Education
Pierre, SD –The workforce development council committee tasked with addressing housing concerns told the Pierre City Commission Tuesday night that it might be time to establish a local housing coordinator and to ramp up education about existing housing programs.
Last fall, Glennis Zarecky was appointed Housing Committee Chair of the local Workforce Development Council established by Mayor Laurie Gill. Zarecky says that her committee has spent the last ten months researching housing challenges and trying to find solutions that make sense for Pierre.
“There are some small efforts we can make to positively affect the situation,” said Zarecky. “But if we truly want to make a transformative change, we may need to take some very bold steps.”
Zarecky said that those “bold-step” ideas could include a redevelopment plan for parts of Pierre, creation of a non-profit organization to develop affordable housing, and establishing a workforce housing coordinator to lead these efforts. Smaller initiatives proposed by the housing committee include educating local homebuyers, contractors and developers about programs available through the South Dakota Housing Development Authority and tapping technical assistance programs already available throughout the state.
The suggestions from the housing committee are all intended to address or offset local housing barriers like the cost of new development, affordability of the current market, and minimal local programming to support housing growth and redevelopment.
Pierre Mayor Laurie Gill expressed her gratitude to the group for their months of research.
“Housing solutions aren’t easy or immediate,” said Mayor Gill. “I think you have brought forward some very worthy ideas to combat some very difficult challenges. Thank you.”
The next step for the housing committee is to further explore their recommended solutions and to develop execution plans for those solutions.
Mayor Gill established the local workforce development council last year. It includes a cross-sector of about 30 government, quasi-government, and private industry stakeholders tasked with recommending solutions to address our local workforce shortage. The council consists of three committees –education, housing and recruitment. The education committee is scheduled to provide an update at next week’s City Commission meeting.