Homeless task force in Sioux Falls continues to discuss recommendations

Published: Oct. 4, 2022 at 10:31 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -A homeless task force was started to address the needs of the homeless population in Sioux Falls.

Tonight, the city held another informational meeting where they discussed the homeless task force.

The first set of meetings involved working with various organizations in town such as the Bishop Dudley and Union Gospel Mission.

City councilor, Rich Merkouris is the chairman on the homeless task force, and he says this collaboration was important to move forward.

“Had a lot of different community partners in to share information, stats with us, program reviews with us. Now we’re shifting into looking at specific options that we can recommend to the mayor and council,” said Rich Merkouris, SF city councilor.

He discussed some of these potential findings, one being enhancing the focus of what the helpline center does and its resources as well as getting assistance out on the streets.

“One of the things we’re looking at is really trying to develop some street teams here in Sioux Falls. Maybe partnering with an organization that sends people out proactively and holistically,” said Merkouris.

Members with Union Gospel Mission agree and say helping those in the most populated areas is important.

“Help the people with walkability, bike ability, work ability. Provide things in the area for those that are in need and that have no cars,” said Eric Weber, CEO Union Gospel Mission.

They say education is also key.

“We want to keep providing education, we want to keep providing healthcare opportunities, we want to keep providing transportation, better transportation,” said Elly Heckel, Union Gospel Mission.

And collaboration will be essential in moving forward

“As much as we can promote working together especially on the east 8th street corridor, we have to,” said Heckel.

The homeless task force will be meeting again on October 24th to discuss further recommendations for council.