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Thunder Valley Community Development Provides Housing on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation
Artist's rendering of the new affordable housing neighorhood being constructed on Pine Ridge Reservation by TVCDC

By Kimberly Pelkofsky, Director of Design and Planning,
Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation

In 2018, Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation (TVCDC) began construction on 14 single-family homes – part of a larger goal of providing 21 homes for ownership at affordable prices to community members on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. 

Exterior of the newly constructed two-story houseThe three- and four-bedroom homes are all energy and water efficient, highly insulated to weather temperature extremes, built to withstand 120 mile per hour sustained winds, and finished with low-to-no volatile organic compound (VOC) paints, carpets, and materials. Each home also comes with a TVCDC owned and maintained solar array to help keep energy costs low, and a structurally robust carport that can withstand the frequent and severe summer hailstorms. With all of these features, these homes are a unique housing product in the Reservation. 

Initially, six investment partners, including the Adrian Dominican Sisters, were identified to fund the construction of 11 homes. Each investment partner contributed capital by way of a construction loan to a specific lot or lots. 

The Adrian Dominican Sisters were introduced to TVCDC through Nick Tilsen, a featured speaker at the Congregation’s 2018 Resilient Communities Symposium at Weber Retreat and Conference Center in Adrian in March. Nick, a citizen of the Oglala Lakota Nation, was then Executive Director of the TVCDC.

Although construction began with a great deal of momentum, it was not too long before challenges surfaced. Costs were rising far beyond original estimates and at a rate faster than TVCDC could find additional funding to cover the difference. Workforce challenges with consistency and workmanship meant that progress was slow. Construction was put on pause. A dramatic shift in approach was needed.

The idea of an Intercreditor Agreement was proposed during one of our investor calls. To put it simply, rather than having six investors operating independently of each other to complete a specific home, all investors would collectively work together to complete the 11 homes. This consolidated the financial structure of the project; set a cap on loan interest rates; and extended the repayment term, which had previously varied by investor. 

Sales proceeds are now first returned to TVCDC to cover ongoing construction costs and are repaid in a rolling fashion by proportion of principal investment as homes are completed and sold. This streamlined process gives TVCDC additional time to complete the project, source additional funding, and reduce reporting burdens. 

Although the break in construction could have been seen as a detriment to the project, the additional time gave the organization the opportunity to continue to work with potential homeowners to ensure they were on solid footing before a purchase. 

Since executing the Intercreditor Agreement, TVCDC has restarted construction and completed four homes. To date, two of these homes were sold in 2022. The first, a three-bedroom, closed in April and the second, a four-bedroom, was closed in mid-August. 

The four-bedroom home – the lot that the Adrian Dominican Sisters originally contributed to – was sold at $200,000. It is now owned by a woman and is the residence of the community member, Lakȟóta spiritual leader, and TVCDC founding member who led the Inípi Ceremony that brought forth the idea to create TVCDC all those years ago. 

Kitchen of newly constructed two-story house Bath of newly constructed two-story house

 

 

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Portfolio Advisory Board,  Adrian Dominican Sisters | 1257 E. Siena Heights Drive | Adrian, Michigan 49221
Phone: (517) 266-3523 | Email: