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Count of unsheltered homeless canceled in South Dakota

Published: Jan. 26, 2021 at 10:29 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - When doing the point-in-time survey, surveyors go out and ask those who are homeless to fill out a questionnaire.

The information given not only helps decide funding for various agencies assisting the homeless,

but it also gives officials an idea of what kind of programs need to be put on to help the community.

“The point-in-time count is divided into a sheltered and unsheltered count. Someone who is sheltered is someone who has a roof over their head, their staying in an emergency shelter or transitional housing. Someone who is unsheltered is literally on the streets, they might be staying in a car, maybe an abandoned building, somewhere that’s really not meant or intended for someone to stay,” said Suzanne Smith, Director Augustana Research Institute.

Those in the unsheltered category will not be counted in South Dakota this year due to Covid concerns.

This has those running homeless shelters worried about the coming year.

“Budgets could be cut because of it I know, I believe that Hud was giving us a pass in the Point and time and helping people that way but still we should have an accurate count, we should be looking for those individuals that are in their cars and sleeping in hotels, we should be counting them because they matter to as well to the overall picture of Sioux Falls and South Dakota,” said Eric Weber, CEO of Union Gospel Mission

Weber says homeless numbers have been up this year due to covid, and now the numbers will not accurately reflect the actual homeless population.

Even still homeless shelters will keep trying to help those in need.

“We know that point-in-time will be down, but we know that the numbers are up, so we continue to do the same thing over and over. We push on and we push harder to help those in need,” said Weber.

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