Local partnership provides mental health services to the homeless

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - A partnership between two unrelated organizations is making an impact in the Sioux Falls community.

Asking for help can be hard.

But, Southeastern Behavioral Health and the Downtown Library have joined forces.

This partnership is working to make help more available for specifically those who have fallen on hard times.

"We wear many hats," says Neeves.

After receiving partial funding from a federal grant, Southeastern Behavioral health's homeless outreach program started looking for the best way to reach those struggling with homelessness.

"A lot of homeless individuals find libraries to be a safe haven," says Kim Hansen, Director of Operations for Southeastern Behavioral Health.

So, they asked the Downtown Sioux Falls Library about partnering; the Library offers space and the homeless outreach program offers their services.

Dan Neeves, a senior librarian at the downtown library, was on board.

He says, "What better way to meet that mission than bring others in who are those experts. That is use connecting others to the information and ideas they need to enrich their lives."

After making the partnership official, they now have open doors for those who are homeless every Thursday from 10-noon in one of the library study rooms.

"In an attempt to get individuals to come and meet with us and talk to us and hopefully get them some services to help them if they're in need," says Hansen.

These services aid in mental health or social work assistance.

When they've helped those in need get back on their feet, the library steps in, "We've got resources to help prepare for jobs, to help get your degree," says Neeves, "It's a win-win. It takes more than one institution working together to impact our community."

The library office has been operating the program for just over a month.

They said they have made contact with people looking for assistance.

With more time and exposure, they hope more and more people will come to them for help.