A Glorious Idea From the Glory House [OPINION]
Leadership at the Glory House in Sioux Falls has come up with a "glorious" idea to help with the Sioux Falls affordable housing issue, assist in lowering the recidivism rate from our prison and jail, and deal with the sensitive issue of housing for sex offenders.
The Glory House has been in existence for 49 years. The purpose of the effort is to help people coming out of incarceration, with counseling, addiction treatment, and on-site housing. Their efforts have been deemed a success.
They are accredited by the American Correctional Association and the South Dakota Department of Social Services and have contracts with State of South Dakota, US Federal Bureau of Prisons, and the US. Probation Office. They are also supported in the community both publicly and privately.
A key component to the success of their "glorious" idea is to obtain from the city of Sioux Falls the land and building adjacent to the Glory House Campus. The city property was formerly the indoor ice rink. For the past 2 years it has been used as storage for unused city property. The site is approximately three acres.
The Glory House would like to build an affordable apartment building on the property, making it available to those coming out of incarceration, those with addiction issues, and sex offenders.
Land uses around the site are light industrial and institutional. The closest apartment complex is about two blocks away.
Some officials at City Hall are concerned about the "glorious" idea, primarily because they say the land has great value and should be sold to the highest bidder.
Based on my ten years as mayor, I would normally agree with those officials. Putting land on the tax rolls is always a good thing. However, this situation is unique. Our community problems call for looking at this unique idea differently.
It has been documented that we have an affordable housing shortage. It is also well known people getting out of jail have a very difficult time finding a place to live, causing many of them to re-offend, putting more strain on law enforcement, the courts, our jails, therefore our tax money.
A lose, lose situation. Add in the challenges of dealing with sex offender housing and we have a conundrum (complicated problem).
The "glorious" idea from the Glory House will not solve all of the problems listed above. However, implementing their "glorious" idea will be a giant step forward.
The value of the land, and the future taxes it may pay if sold to somebody else will not make nearly the contribution to the greater community good, than the opportunity for more affordable housing for former inmates, addicts, and sex offenders.
Safe affordable housing for all of our citizens is a worthy goal. This "glorious" idea assists us in fulfilling that goal.
I hope our city leaders can see the greater good accomplished for the greater number.
This "glorious" idea is worthy of our typical Sioux Falls "can do" attitude, effort, and result.
Just because "we have never done this before," should not prevent us from doing it now.
This idea is so good, it should be applauded, and approved.