Volunteers get early start for 2012 statewide homeless count - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Volunteers get early start for 2012 statewide homeless count

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Members of the South Dakota Housing for the Homeless Consortium and volunteers gathered at 3:30 Tuesday morning to begin the 2012 statewide homeless count.

Tuesday the South Dakota Housing for the Homeless Consortium (SDHHC), an affiliate of South Dakota Housing Development Authority, will conduct its annual statewide homeless count. Volunteers are trained, teamed up, and given the supplies and information necessary to conduct the count in their neighborhoods, communities, or counties. They fill out surveys to find out more about the homeless population here in town and across the state. The count benefits the state by the amount of federal funding it gets to continue helping homeless people in South Dakota. Organizers say about 40 volunteers will be out in the Sioux Falls area on Tuesday. Sioux Falls Police will also help volunteers Tuesday night by taking them to areas they believe homeless people are living.

In Sioux Falls volunteers started the day at 3:30am in front of Labor Ready on South Cliff Avenue. They told us at that time about 40 people were lined up around the block looking for work at Labor Ready. Of those people volunteers say over 20 people admitted to being homeless.

Organizers say volunteers are key because they can help reach more rural areas of South Dakota. Organizers say the goal of this count is to get in contact with homeless people and families to see what help these people need to get back on their feet.

The statewide survey is broken down into three geographical areas according to counties - West River, East River and Central South Dakota.

The statewide survey in 2011 gathered some staggering statistics.

• Of the 1,453 homeless individuals, 369 were women, 707 were men and 377 were children.

• The prime reasons for homelessness were alcoholism, inability to pay rent, and unemployment.

• Of those surveyed, 15% were single parent families, 75% were individuals, 3% married couples with no children and 6% married couples with children.

Organizers say by combining the results of this survey with resources the SDHHC can help people make changes to address these problems.

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