Developer: Minnehaha County Housing and Redevelopment Commission

Architect: Perspective, Inc.

Major Funders: Citibank; South Dakota Housing Development Authority; Minnehaha County; Department of Housing and Urban Development

Safe Home is the first project of its type in South Dakota.

Embracing the Housing First concept, the new 33-unit development was built for formerly homeless residents who are dealing with alcohol abuse issues. Other facilities in Sioux Falls have required residents to be sober or to have completed a treatment program.

“Safe Home is an opportunity for county residents who have struggled to be able to find stability and safety,” says Carol Muller, director of Minnehaha County Human Services.

Residents are not required to be alcohol free, but there are restrictions on the amount they can bring in to the project.

In addition to providing permanent housing, the $3.5 million Safe Home is expected to save the county about $15,000 annually for each resident, which would total about $500,000 each year. That's because residents with stable housing decrease their use of costly emergency rooms, jails, and detoxification centers.

Minnehaha County is providing supportive services that will empower residents to make lifestyle changes. If they want treatment, they will be referred to specialized programs.

Although the concept behind Safe Home has been controversial, supporters think the development is a game changer, paving the way for other projects.

The majority of the financing came from Citibank, which invested in low-income housing tax credits through its CitiHousing, Inc., subsidiary that is based in South Dakota. The tax credits provided $2.3 million in equity.