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NV conservation group supports FERC's transmission planning rule; Memorial Day weekend includes Tornadoes and record-high temperatures; A focus on the Farm Bill for Latino Advocacy Week in D.C; and Southeast Alaska is heating homes with its rainfall.

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U.S. Supreme Court allows South Carolina gerrymander that dilutes Black voters, Sen. Ted Cruz refuses to say if he'll accept 2024 election results, and Trump calls Mar-a-Lago search an attempt to have him assassinated.

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Smokey Bear thought only "you" could prevent forest fires, but decomposing mushrooms may also help, a Native American community in Oregon is achieving healthcare sovereignty, and Colorado farmers hope fast-maturing, drought-tolerant seeds will better handle climate change.

Sioux Falls programs address rising homeless population

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Wednesday, May 15, 2024   

Homelessness in South Dakota may be down overall, but the state's urban areas are an exception. New programs in Sioux Falls aim to address it.

The most recent point-in-time data show the number of people unhoused in Sioux Falls rose by 20% between 2022 and 2023. Native people experience homelessness at a disproportionately high rate, making up nearly 40% of the unhoused population in the area. So, South Dakota Urban Indian Health launched the Wo'Okiye program last year, with case management services and help making and getting to medical appointments.

Monica Bailey, program manager and Standing Rock Sioux Tribe member, said these wraparound services give staff a variety of options to respond.

"If they want to go to treatment or if they want to talk. We also provide smudging, therapeutic beading and sewing. We just meet people where they're at on their journey," she said.

Bailey added the organization is averaging 1,300 contacts a month -- an increase from about 260 last September, after launching its initial street outreach efforts a year ago.

The City of Sioux Falls also hired its first Homelessness Services Coordinator in April. Bailey said Wo'Okiye will work closely with the coordinator, and has partnered with others in the city.

"For example, we have a great relationship with downtown Sioux Falls Library, where they can call us and we can go in and check on someone, and bring them to our space or see if we need to do a warm handoff," Bailey said.

The unhoused population in Rapid City also grew last year, although homelessness across the state has decreased nearly 8% since 2022, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.


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