Biological needs – sleep, food, water, air, shelter - form the base as they are of the greatest importance in maintaining life. Once a person has met the biological needs, the next concern is safety. In one of the poorest counties in the nation, Buffalo County, USDA Rural Development (RD) and Crow Creek Housing Authority (CCHA) have formed a partnership to assist with shelter and safety, helping to improve dwellings for rural residents on the Crow Creek Hunkpati Oyate Indian Reservation located in Ft. Thompson, SD.
Homeowner Hilda Long Crow commented, "perfect is what I see, when I enter my bathroom." Through an RD 504 Rural Housing Repair and Rehabilitation grant/loan, a walk-in shower and new window were installed. Other repairs to the home included replacing storm doors and the roof. These improvements have allowed this 98 year-old homeowner to remain independent, preserve her quality of life, along with feeling safe and secure.
In 2015, RD and CCHA have assisted 5 homeowners. Since the inception of the partnership in September 2012, 15 homeowners have been helped on the Crow Creek Hunkpati Oyate Indian Reservation.
For many rural residents with limited income making repairs, improving and maintaining a home with basic features such as safe electrical wiring, indoor plumbing, and efficient windows, is often unaffordable. Through the partnership, CCHA refers potential applicants to RD. Once the applicant gets approved, RD provides funding for the materials and CCHA provides their workforce crew to complete the repairs at no cost to the homeowner. The alliance formed provides a much needed resource for homeowners to make a basic necessity obtainable.
On the Crow Creek Hunkpati Oyate Indian Reservation, many a generation will pass through a structure a family calls home. Homes are where lives are built one repair at a time. One repair, two repair, three repair, and more - repairing and rehabilitating Rural America – one homeowner at a time in rural South Dakota.