Homeless numbers show spike in children from 2012 - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Homeless numbers show spike in children from 2012

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New numbers reveal a rise in children without a place to call home.

The 2013 Minnehaha County Homeless Count show results from a one-day survey conducted by volunteers back in September.

Here's a look at some numbers:

1,155 people are experiencing homelessness in South Dakota. In Sioux Falls, that's 618 people and 218 children.    

"It's getting harder and harder to find a job, sustain one. For me, whenever I get a job, something goes wrong, no gas to get there, just have no money to keep a job,"  Shiela Stone said.

Shiela Stone is one of many relying on the Salvation Army's warming center in Sioux Falls for a place to stay at night. It has only been open for two days and people staying there are thankful.

"If it wasn't for Salvation Army, I wouldn't know what to do," Louis Deak said.

A spike in numbers show 14 children are living outdoors with a parent, 13 are in vehicles with a parent, 2 are living in abandoned buildings with a family member.

In 2012, those numbers were nonexistent.

"We had to sleep in a truck for one night and all we had was one blanket, it was really cold, and we did not have much gas to keep it on. I'm glad for this place to be open because we can be warm," Shiela stone said.

Stacey Tieszen with the Homeless Advisory Board, reminds us the homeless county was done in September. The colder it gets, the less likely children will be on the streets at night.

"As long as kids are going to school, being fed, being bathed, it's not a huge neglect issue. In the wintertime, it's different because it's freezing. I would be very alarmed if those numbers are what were still going on in our community," Tieszen said.

But the county and state are doing all they can to keep numbers down.

"It's just about coming together as a collaborative community more so than we currently are," she said.

According to the one-day count in September there were:

- 14 children living outdoors with a parent
- 13 children living in vehicles with a parent
- 2 children living in an abandon building with a family member
- and 29 children with a family member in motels counted.
In 2012, there were zero children counted living outside, in cars, or in abandoned buildings.

Additional Highlights of the Minnehaha County Data (voluntary, self-reported, and anonymous):
- 41%  were male, 24% were female, and 35% were children
- 44% of total homeless surveyed state this was their first time being homeless
- 18% of homeless population state that their number one reason for being homeless was an inability to
pay rent
- 27% were working FULL-TIME and still homeless in Minnehaha County (an additional 22% were working
part-time)
- 19% (63 people) were Veterans in Minnehaha County with 15 of them living outside
- Change from 2012 to 2013 on where are you sleeping tonight:
o 2012 = 13% outdoors, 56% emergency shelter, and 18% transitional housing
o 2013 = 26% outdoors, 28% emergency shelter, and 25% transitional housing (and 1% in jail last
year to 9% in jail this year)
- 32% of them have at least a high school diploma (an additional 17% have their GEDs)
- 47% state that a lack of full-time employment is their primary reason for being unable to obtain housing

A lack of affordable housing as well as a need for transportation are two main culprits exacerbating homelessness in Sioux Falls. Fair Market Rent continues to increase. Most recently it increased by $69 a month for a 2-bedroom over last year and is now at $760/month. A person would need wages of $14.61/hour to afford this unit.

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