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April 19, 2017 10:00 PM

Center For New Americans Gets New Home

From learning English to finding a job, refugees often have a lot of work to do once they come to America.  Now a new facility in Sioux Falls will help with the transition.

Adane Redda moved to Sioux Falls almost 20 years ago. He was fleeing violence and political unrest in Ethiopia.

"It was scary. There were times that I was arrested. I was fearful for my family," Redda said.

When Redda moved to the city, he only knew a little English. He sought help at The LSS Center for New Americans.

"We resettle 400 to 500 people every year," LSS President/CEO Betty Oldenkamp said.

Now the Center for New Americans has moved to a permanent home. The non-profit social service agency has purchased a building in downtown Sioux Falls, along 6th Street. It has larger rooms for refugees to learn about citizenship, culture and the English language.

"You'd walk into a room, and people were touching shoulder to shoulder. They were almost sitting on top of each other. The rooms were so crowded," Oldenkamp said.

The new facility is close to a bus stop and the bike path. Not to mention -- it's in the downtown area nearby other services for new Americans.

"The courthouse is close by. Falls Community Health is close by," Oldenkamp said.

Relocating the center is just the first phase of the project. Next LSS will move its administration and mentoring services to the East Bank campus. Then it will add on to accommodate counseling and financial resources.

"We want to be able to bring together multiple services that LSS offers in the Sioux Falls community," Oldenkamp said.

A facility that will hopefully help more people like Redda. He is now a direct service worker for the center.

"It is rewarding to help people who need help. Imagine if a refugee comes here, and this organization is not in place what would happen," Redda said.

The Sioux Falls business community has raised $1.25 million for the project.

LSS employees and leaders have also pledged hundreds of thousands of dollars to the campaign.

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