Social Programs

South Dakota Housing Development Authority and partner agencies are working to assist South Dakotans who have been impacted by COVID-19 and the related economic crisis by offering financial assistance to help stabilize their housing situation. The funding is provided to South Dakota through the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.

If you are unable to pay rent or utilities because of the pandemic, short-term financial assistance may be available.

General Questions - Rental

To be eligible, a household must:

  • Be a South Dakota resident.
  • Legally reside in the United States.
  • Be financially impacted - directly or indirectly - by the COVID 19 pandemic after March 13, 2020. 
  • Have current household income that does not exceed 80% Area Median Income (AMI) for the county in which they live, as outlined on the "Rental Income Guidelines." Total household income includes income for all members of the household age 18 and over, whether the individuals are related or not.
  • Owe past due rent or utilities (i.e. water, sewer, electricity, propane/natural gas, trash) or be unable to pay upcoming rent or utilities due to the financial impact.

Yes. If you first received assistance in 2020. This is a new program with new funding so you will need to submit a new application.

If you have received assistance in 2021, please do not submit another application for additional assistance. Instead, please refer to your tokenized email and contact the agency processing your 2021 application and they will assist you with requesting additional financial assistance.

Yes. You must demonstrate negative economic or financial hardship due directly or indirectly to the coronavirus outbreak. This could be a qualification for unemployment benefits, loss of job, reduction in pay, quarantine orders, and/or significant medical costs.

Partner agencies across South Dakota are available to help households complete an application and provide financial assistance. Once determined eligible, you will be asked to complete the full application and will be expected to submit required documentation before assistance is provided.

SDHDA is partnering with the following agencies to assist households, process applications and disburse financial assistance. Applicants will complete the on-line SD Cares application that can be found on the following websites:

Helpline Center - Statewide

East River Legal Services - Statewide

Codington County Welfare - Watertown

Grow South Dakota - Sisseton

Inter-Lakes Community Action Partnership - Madison

Lutheran Social Services - Sioux Falls

Minnehaha County Human Services - Sioux Falls

NeighborWorks Dakota Home Resources - Deadwood

Pennington County Health & Human Services - Rapid City

Rural Office of Community Services, Inc. - Wagner

Western SD Community Action - Rapid City

South Dakota Housing Development Authority - Pierre

Yes, you can access and complete the application via your smartphone and upload pictures of the required documentation.

You will receive an email indicating that your application has been received. This tokenized email will be your access to your application so it is very important that you do not lose this email. You will use this tokenized email to log back into the application to check your applications status, upload additional documents if necessary, exchange messages with your case worker and potentially apply for additional funding.

Upon submission, your application will be assigned to one of the partner agencies and they will be in contact with you for any additional documents or information that may be necessary.

If you are unable to find your tokenized email you will need to contact any agency assisting with SD Cares. The agency will be able to resend your email.

Yes, all unemployment benefits, including any pandemic unemployment assistance for COVID-19, should be included as income.

Housing statuses eligible for assistance include being at risk of losing housing or having already lost housing because of COVID-19 circumstances. This includes renters and households doubled up with another household.

Households that are literally homeless without a nighttime residence are not eligible. Households in such a circumstance should seek alternative resources such as Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) funding or by contacting 211 Helpline Center.

Yes. Housing assistance is being provided through the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 funding and this funding cannot be used to replace federal rental assistance payments or subsidy (Section 8, Housing Choice Voucher, CSBG, ESG, CoC, etc.), or pay for cell phone expenses or mortgage payments. SD Cares can provide financial assistance to pay the tenant paid portion of rent for residents residing in subsidized properties or receiving rental assistance.

Assistance can be paid in all South Dakota counties. Local community action agencies and tribal governments also received rental assistance funding and care will be taken to ensure eligible households do not receive duplicative federally funded rental assistance.

Applications can be submitted electronically. If you need assistance in applying, simply call 211 and they will assist you with the process.

Upon review of your application, staff will ask you to supply any additional documentation that is needed. The partner agencies, local public housing authorities, utility companies, libraries, your landlord, churches, and local government offices may be able to assist you with scanning and submitting documentation via email. All documents must include the applicant’s name.

Yes. Assistance will not require proof of ability to satisfy future housing expenses.

The amount of assistance received by each household will be based on each household’s circumstance. Each household may receive up to 12 months of assistance if determined necessary. There is no limit on the dollar amount of assistance provided for each month. All past-due rent and utilities back to March 13, 2020 will be paid first with remaining funds available for prospective (future) assistance. Funding will be available at least through September 30, 2022.

No, we cannot use the funds for reimbursement. The payment must be made for an amount actually owed.

No, household stimulus checks are not included in calculation of income.

Yes. Households that are not yet past due are still eligible to receive assistance.

No. Application review and processing may take up to 10-14 days. Applicant and payee will be notified upon payment approval and issuance. Payments may take an additional 7-10 days to arrive.

Payments will be sent via check directly to the landlord and/or utility providers. Payment should arrive within 7-10 days after notification of an approved application.

All applicants must be accessible by either phone or email. You may provide a release of information to authorize communication with a representative of yours that has an active phone number or email.

Applicants will be asked to supply tax returns, lease agreement, proof of rent, or utilities due, proof of income (or lack of income), a state- or tribally-issued ID, and release of information.

You can submit an application without attaching all the required documentation. However, this will most likely lengthen the application review process. Applicants will be contacted to request missing information or documentation.

A letter from your previous employer is the preferred documentation. In its absence, you can supply other documentation you believe demonstrates your loss of income. In the absence of proof of income or loss of income, you will be required to sign the Zero-Loss of Income Certification.

This is requested by the Federal Government to ensure our compliance with equal credit opportunity, fair housing and home mortgage disclosure laws. You are not required to furnish this information, but are encouraged to do so. For race, you may check more than one designation. If you do not wish to furnish the information, please check the appropriate box.

No. Assistance can only be provided for costs incurred after March 13, 2020. There are additional resources that may be available to assist you with this cost. Please contact 211 or SDHDA for further assistance.

Yes. Assistance can cover non-excessive late fees that were incurred March 13, 2020, or thereafter, and are the result of COVID-19.

Yes, renters residing in income-based property with affordable rents, such as a low-income housing tax credit property may be eligible for assistance.

Households receiving a federal rental assistance payment or subsidy (Section 8, Housing Choice Voucher, CSBG, ESG, CoC, etc.) are eligible for SD Cares Housing Assistance for payment of the tenant paid portion of their rent.

Maybe. The program may help with application fee, rental and utility payments and, on rare occasions, security deposits for new housing options.

SDHDA and the partner agencies do not provide legal counsel. Consider contacting the State Bar of South Dakota – for legal assistance.

No. SDHDA and the partner agencies do not act as an intermediary between renters, landlords or utility providers. Consider contacting the State Bar of South Dakota for legal assistance.

No. Assistance is intended to help households preserve their current housing by paying rent and utility obligations that the household is unable to pay due to COVID-19 related circumstances. If you are homeless and need a temporary place to stay please contact our homeless service providers by contacting 211 or visiting SDHDA’s website for a service provider in your area.

Yes. Households will only complete one application for all assistance requested.

Yes. A lease agreement will be requested from your landlord. If a lease agreement cannot be obtained, supplemental documentation may be used to evidence the rental payment amount and lease terms.

A notice of eviction is not required. A statement from your landlord indicating the amount of past-due rent (and for which period of time) is acceptable documentation. A ledger created by the renter is not sufficient documentation of need.

Landlords cannot apply on behalf of tenants. However, landlords should notify their tenants of this program and may assist tenants in submission of their application.

Yes, if your situation was created by circumstances related to COVID-19. However, there may be additional services that are better suited for your household by contacting 211 or visiting SDHDA’s website for a homeless service provider in your area.

Yes. SDCHAP can be used to help you catch up on unpaid utility bills.

No. The lease agreement must be with the owner or property manager, not a renter of the leased space.

Yes. Households who are renting their residence under a “rent-to-own” agreement under which the renter has the option to purchase the property at the end of the lease term, provided that a member of the household is (i) not a signor or co-signor to the mortgage on the property; (ii) does not hold the deed or title to the property; and (iii) has not exercised the option to purchase.

Yes. Additional assistance may be approved when continued need is demonstrated and eligibility has been re-determined. Eligibility is subject to the availability of remaining funds.

If you have received assistance in 2021, please do not submit another application for additional assistance. Instead, please refer to your tokenized email and contact the agency processing your 2021 application and they will assist you with requesting additional financial assistance.

  • Assistance payments will be made directly to the payee (landlord/utility company);
  • The tenant does not intend to vacate the unit during the period of assistance;
  • The landlord will not evict the tenant for non-payment of rent or related fees during the period of assistance;
  • The tenant has no right to the assistance funds paid. If the unit is vacated during the period of assistance, assistance will be pro-rated and refunded to the program, not the tenant;
  • Funds are not to be used for any costs other than rent (e.g., move-out, damage, unit transfer costs, etc.);
  • The owner/landlord is not residing in the rental unit;
  • The owner/landlord is not a relative of the renter;
  • The tenant does not receive a federal housing subsidy from another program;
  • There is not duplicate assistance being paid for the period of assistance.

It is unlikely landlords will be successful in evicting tenants for nonpayment of rent during COVID-19 due to the federal eviction moratorium in effect until June 2021. Landlords can still file eviction cases and can evict tenants for other lease violations. If you are facing eviction, or fear you might, the following agencies provide free legal services to income eligible persons. Contact them directly for more information.

SD Law Help - Need Legal Help

East River Legal Services
335 North Main Ave., Suite 200
Sioux Falls, SD 57104
(800) 952-3015

Dakota Plains Legal Services Inc. - Website:

Eagle Butte, SD – (605) 964-2175
Fort Thompson, SD – (605) 245-2341
Fort Yates, ND – (701) 854-7204
Mission, SD (800) 658-2297
Pine Ridge, SD – (605) 867-1020
Rapid City, SD – (800) 742-8602
Sioux Falls, SD - (605) 698-3791

Access to Justice, Inc.
222 E. Capitol Ave., #3
Pierre, SD 57501
(855) 287-3510

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis through September 1, 2022, or until such time as funds no longer are available.

You can still apply. Even if your landlord won’t participate, include their contact information in your application. Once they get a notice that you applied they will have an opportunity to fill out their attestation. If they do not fill out the attestation or contact us, we will work with you.

No, we can’t reimburse you. This program is only for rent that hasn’t been paid yet. However, we can consider needing to borrow money to pay rent as proof that you need financial assistance. If you meet other eligibility requirements and demonstrate your difficulty in paying back your loan or credit card, you may be eligible for assistance to pay current rent or utility expenses.

  • Purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Medical or funeral bills due to COVID-19
  • Higher or new internet costs because of working from home or your child needs internet for remote learning
  • Higher or new utility bill because you are home more
  • Higher grocery bills
  • Higher or new childcare costs
  • Higher or new household costs

If you’re not sure, you can call SD Housing at 1-800-540-4241 and we can help.

No. The program only allows for prospective rent payments.

You may apply only if you live in a separate unit from your landlord. This means that you have to have kitchen and bathroom facilities in your unit. We require a preexisting written lease and evidence of a history of consistent rent payments. You are not eligible if you are related and paying rent informally. If you are not sure you can contact SD Housing at 1-800-540-4241.

Yes. You can apply for your portion of the rent. You do not need to include your roommate’s income on the application. If you are eligible, your landlord will be paid your portion of the rent.

Yes. You must repay the program for any month your tenant did not occupy the unit.