Homestead Trails: Renters Graduate to Homeowners

For many residents of the Homestead Trails subdivision, just off Rice Street in Sioux Falls, homeownership became a reality in 2012 when they bought the homes they had been renting. The 32 single-family homes at Homestead Trails were constructed in 1997 and financed through SDHDA's Housing Tax Credit program (HTC).

Homestead Trails is one of three rent-to-own projects that The Dunham Company developed and manages in the Sioux Falls area. It was the first to "graduate" to homeownership after the required 15 year lease period.

Residents Mike and Shirley Comer became owners of their home in July 2012. More than a year later, Shirley still has a hard time believing that the house is actually hers. "It hasn't sunk in yet," Shirley said. "We're still making mortgage payments, but I can do whatever I want."

Since buying the house last year, the Comers have installed ceiling fans in the living room and bedrooms. They're also adding soffit and fascia to the exterior. And next on Shirley's wish list: a new front window.

Shirley said the process of applying for a mortgage was not easy but worthwhile. "This house is for me, my children and my grandchildren," commented Shirley. "It's home."