What Poverty and Homelessness Looks Like in Sioux Falls...
Causes of homelessness are varied but can include domestic violence, mental health issues, catastrophic illness, unemployment, substance abuse, natural disasters, and a lack of affordable housing. A basic definition of homeless is someone who is lacking a permanent, safe place to live.
- Often times the difference between being housed and being homeless is the support network that is available - both familial/friend and in the community - how it responds or has set up a safety net to prevent homelessness.
On September 27, 2011, the Statewide Homeless Count identified 1428 homeless people in the State of South Dakota with 729 of those living right here in Minnehaha County. Of these 729 counted, 174 were children.
- These counts are done on only one day so if a person experiencing homelessness does not come in to an agency that provides emergency housing or services or did not encounter a volunteer, he or she was probably not included in the count. Diligent efforts are made to count those who are willing.
- Another form of homelessness can include those who live doubled-up. Doubled up means that people are living together - either related or non-related - out of economic necessity, not because they want to. Doubled-up numbers are much more common in states like South Dakota because of our more rural nature. It is also more likely in Sioux Falls because of our dwindling supply of affordable housing. Although attempts are made to count this population as well, decisive numbers are not available statewide.
For the 2010-2011 school year, 1,049 students in the Sioux Falls School District were identified as homeless at some point (from August to May), which is up from 1,034 the year before. There has been a 400% increase in the number of identified homeless children in the Sioux Falls School District over the last decade.
In 2010, the City of Sioux Falls did an affordable housing study that found three households most in need are those earning less than $20,000 annually, seniors, and minorities. It also found that at least 1,000 new affordable housing units must be constructed to meet the current demand.
2011 Federal Poverty Guidelines for a family of 4 is $22,350, but the 2011 Area Median Income in Sioux Falls for a family of 4 is $67,900.
- Up to 250 new households in Sioux Falls each year make less than 50% of the area median income
Housing is deemed affordable when it is about 30% of a person's income.
- 2012 Fair market rent (FMR) for an efficiency unit in Sioux Falls is $499/month.
- For 2012, a two-bedroom apartment in Sioux Falls rents at $670/month (FMR).
- A family member earning minimum wage of $7.25/hour would have to work 75 hours or more per week to be able to afford that apartment.
The Homeless Advisory Board endorses the nationwide concept of Housing First which is premised on the notion that housing is a basic human right, and as such should not be denied to anyone, even if they are abusing alcohol or other substances.
- There is no one standard of permanent supportive housing that is proven to work best with the homeless population. Each category of homelessness - chronic, family, dually-diagnosed, chemically dependent, Veteran - requires creativity in service provision.
- What they do have in common include an apartment, case management, medical and mental health care in some capacity. Success is defined in a variety of ways but the three most decisive are: housing retention, harm reduction, and expense.
- Safe Home, currently operated by Minnehaha County Human Services, is a Housing First program working with our chronically homeless, alcohol-addicted individuals who are residents of this Community.
- A new facility is scheduled for completion at the end of 2011. This building will have 33 individual apartment units and will provide supportive services to the participants of the program.
Across the United States...
- The average age of a homeless person in the United States is 7 (yes, 7).
- The typical homeless family is a single, 20-year-old mother with two preschool children.
- One in 45 children in the United States - 1.6 million children - were living on the street, in homeless shelters or motels, or doubled up with other families last year, according to the National Center on Family Homelessness.
- This is up 33% since 2007
- Close to 700,000 people are homeless on any given night in America.
- Children under the age of 8 are the fastest growing segment of the homeless population now comprising over 50%.
- Statistically, 10% of any city's homeless population can be considered chronically homeless.
- More than 150 Housing First programs are in existence today with more being planned and constructed every day. Some effective models are in Seattle, WA, Salt Lake City, UT, Minneapolis, MN, Duluth, MN, New York and Los Angeles. In Fargo, ND, Cooper House opened in May 2010 providing the chronically homeless with 10 one-bedroom and 32 efficiency apartments along with some supportive services.
For additional information and updates, please review this Snapshot of Economic Indicators for Sioux Falls:
Contact info: Stacey Tieszen
Homeless Advisory Board
521 N. Main Avenue, Suite 201, Sioux Falls, SD 57104
(605) 367-4217 ext. 121