PIERRE – On September 27, 2011, South Dakota Housing for the Homeless Consortium (SDHHC) conducted a one-day survey to identify homeless families and individuals in South Dakota. During the 24-hour period, 1,453 individuals, including 377 children, were counted, representing a 16 percent decline from the 1,728 individuals identified in the 2010 survey.
“It is nice to see the number of homeless decrease,” said Lisa Bondy, coordinator for SDHHC. “However, with 1,453 homeless, including 377 children, we still have a lot of work to do.”
In 2009, South Dakota received more than $3.2 million in Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP) funding. “We have to credit the HPRP funding with assisting in the reduction of homelessness,” said Bondy.
HPRP funding is available for rental assistance, security deposits, and utility deposits. In addition to the financial assistance, the agencies coordinate services to help HPRP participants maintain housing.
The statewide survey was broken down into three geographical areas according to counties: West River, East River and Central South Dakota. The Homeless Advisory Board in Sioux Falls, Black Hills Region Homeless Coalition, and South Dakota Housing Development Authority (SDHDA), were responsible for coordinating the counts. In addition, the communities of Aberdeen, Watertown and Huron enlisted volunteers to work in their communities.
“SDHHC encouraged and greatly appreciated the assistance from community volunteers, law enforcement, faith-based organizations, and other agencies that helped conduct the count in their areas”, said Bondy. “The count could not happen without the volunteers; this year we had 47 counties represented, the greatest participation we have ever had.”
A few statistics from the 2011 count:
- Majority of homeless individuals and families were staying in emergency shelters, transitional housing or hotel/motels
- The prime reason for homelessness was lost job/unemployed and substance-abuse issues
- Majority of the homeless are 46-55 years old
- Of the 1,453 homeless individuals, 156 were sleeping outdoors the night of the count (seven were children)
- 45 percent of the total homeless individual males surveyed were veterans
- 87 percent of those surveyed stated their income comes from employment
For more detailed results, please see our website at www.sdhda.org
The South Dakota Housing for the Homeless Consortium was created in 2001 to help unify the people who provide services to the homeless. Throughout the years the Consortium has identified gaps and created 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 of around $8 million to provide development, operations and supportive services to a variety of homeless programs across the state.