Throwback Thursday: August 1971

People Housing Program 1971

Photo used to communicate about People’s Housing Program in 1971.

In 1969, a report by the Rural Housing Alliance in Washington, DC, estimated that two-thirds of the substandard housing the United States was located in rural areas. Also in 1969, the Dakotas Low-Cost Housing Conference in Sioux Falls, SD, heard that the percent of substandard housing in the Dakotas was twice as high as the figure for the nation.

In 1970, the Department of Housing and Urban Development approved a $100,000 grant to Basin Electric to finance the pilot rural housing program, People’s Housing Program. Learn more about the program in the February 1971 issue of Basin Report. Download PDF: Basin Report February 1971.

In August 1971, Basin Report ran a story on a survey completed in North Dakota and South Dakota on housing. The Rural Dakota Housing Survey was completed in 18,592 homes.

Read an excerpt of the survey results:

Noticeably lacking in many homes are bathrooms, central heating, and full basements. These characteristics are of course related in that it is often difficult to install indoor plumbing of any kind or central heating without the presence of a good basement and foundation in the house.

Over 90 percent of homes in the rural Dakotas are wood frame structures, built on the average during the 1930s. Less than 60 percent of them have been remodeled in the last ten years. …

The People’s Housing Program, made possible by a grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, is headquartered in the office of Basin Electric Power Cooperative, Bismarck, ND. …

Field Project Director for PHP, William Schott, has emphasized that this is “…more than just an information gathering survey — it is a working survey from which we can proceed to contact the individuals who need improved housing, and meet their respective needs, whether it be water or sewer, remodeling, or a whole new house.

“The survey affords us the opportunity to bring the necessary facts to the families; they can accept help with loan applications or not. However the RECs (rural electric cooperatives) are here to promote help for anyone who wishes to have a better home,” said Schott. Keep reading for more information…

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