“We are asking for volunteers to join others who are committed to ending homelessness to assist in conducting the count,” said Lisa Bondy, State Coordinator for SDHHC.
Volunteers are trained, teamed up, and given the supplies and information necessary to conduct the count in their neighborhoods, communities, or counties. The count is conducted by interacting with both service agencies and homeless individuals. SDHHC’s goal this year, with the help of volunteers, is to reach the more rural areas of the state.
“We are asking for volunteers all over the state to help conduct this survey. Our goal is to be in contact with homeless individuals or families and see in what ways we can help”, said Bondy.
The statewide survey is broken down into three geographical areas according to counties – West River, East River and Central South Dakota. Stacey Tieszen, Coordinator of the Homeless Advisory Board in Sioux Falls is leading the survey in the eastern part of the state. Andrea Denke with Black Hills Region Homeless Coalition will handle the West River area. South Dakota Housing Development Authority (SDHDA) in Pierre is the contact for the remaining areas of the state.
Some of the key findings on September 28, 2010 were:
- Of the 1,728 homeless individuals, 459 were women, 809 were men and 446 were children.
- The prime reasons for homelessness were alcoholism, inability to pay rent, and unemployment.
- Of those surveyed 339 individuals reported being homeless for the first time in 3 years.
Reducing the number of homeless individuals is a national and state priority. By combining the results from this count with a plan of action, SDHHC can assist its members in seeking the appropriate changes to address these problems.
SDHHC encourages anyone who is interested in participating in this effort to please contact one of the Coordinators in your area.
In 2001, the South Dakota Housing for the Homeless Consortium was created to help unify the people who provide services to the homeless. Throughout the years, this group has been able to identify gaps and create programs and services that make it easier for people to make it on their own. Since its initiation, the Consortium has received federal funding totaling over $11 million to provide development, operations and supportive services to a variety of homeless programs across the state.