PIERRE, S.D. – December 4, 2009 – (RealEstateRama) — A recent homeless count and survey conducted by South Dakota Housing for the Homeless Consortium (SDHHC) indicates that the economy has impacted the number of homeless individuals and families in South Dakota.
The statewide summer count conducted Sept. 24, 2009, indicated a total of 1,734 homeless people, or 308 per 100,000 population, including 470 women, 826 men and 429 children.
While the weak economy has resulted in more homeless individuals and families, the number of homeless in South Dakota is small in comparison to the overall state population – three-tenths of one percent.
Gov. Mike Rounds has made it a priority to get state agencies across South Dakota involved in the homeless count to not only get a better count, but to get better coverage statewide. As a result, the number of counties reporting doubled from the 2007 survey.
The homeless count and survey found that the inability to pay rent, unemployment and alcohol/drug abuse were the prime reasons for homelessness.
Mark Lauseng, South Dakota Housing Development Authority Executive Director, said the economy has had a large role in the increase in homelessness.
“Homeless information was gathered by 29 counties, and it is SDHHC’s desire to increase awareness and participation from all the counties to better serve the citizens of South Dakota,” he said.
With 15 counties reporting, the statewide summer count in September of 2007 showed 1,026 individuals or 207 per 100,000 population.
The recent count provides data on families and individuals who meet the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD’s) definition of homelessness. The count also fulfills HUD’s requirements for South Dakota’s Balance of State Continuum of Care plan.
To coordinate the count, the state was divided into three geographical areas according to counties where services are provided. The count was completed by volunteers, law enforcement, housing agencies, domestic violence programs, faith-based organizations and state agencies.
The South Dakota Housing for the Homeless Consortium was created in 2001 to unite all who provide services for the homeless. The primary focus of the group is to identify gaps in programs and services that cause
difficulty for people to make it on their own. Since its inception, the statewide consortium has received grants totaling $8 million to provide development, operating, and support services for a variety of homeless programs across the state.
Reducing the number of homeless individuals is a national and state priority. By combining the results from the recent count with an action plan, the Consortium can assist its members in seeking appropriate changes needed to address the problems. The Consortium encourages anyone who is interested in participating in the effort to contact Lisa Bondy, SDHDA, (605) 773-3445, lisab (at) sdhda (dot) org
The South Dakota Housing Development Authority (SDHDA) is an independent, quasi-public agency that finances and develops affordable housing opportunities for low and moderate-income residents throughout South Dakota. SDHDA is totally self-supporting and receives no tax money, appropriations or other funding from the State. SDHDA does not discriminate against any person because of race, color, creed, religion, sex, disability, familial status or national origin. SDHDA is a proud partner of the State’s 2010 Initiative to “Brand and Develop South Dakota’s Quality of Life as the Best in America.” For more information, visit www.sdhda.org or www.2010initiative.com
The South Dakota Housing Development Authority…Building a Better Quality of Life.