SIOUX FALLS, SD -
For the most part, they go un-noticed. A part of society that seems like everyone else, but when it comes time to head home at night, there's a very big difference.
The number of homeless veterans in South Dakota might surprise you. But now there's a new program hoping to put an end to it.
Volunteers of America recently opened a new shelter for homeless vets. It has everything they need to put a roof over their heads and help them get back on their feet.
The new shelter on the corner of Cliff Avenue and 14th Street in Sioux Falls is a home that many of America's hero's don't have, but need.
"We're gonna try and identify what the needs of these homeless vets are: if they need housing, if they need food, if they need shelter. I mean all of that stuff we want to make sure they get connected with," Volunteers of America Services Coordinator Chris Nelson said.
Nelson says it's part of the VA's goal to end the issue among vets by 2015. And while it might not be an obvious issue on the surface, the numbers are there.
"At the Veterans Administration here, I think the count was somewhere around 300 homeless veterans that were identified and received some kind of a service,” Nelson said.
It's a place where vets can come during the day to do laundry, take a shower, or even get online.
"That’s the way things get done these days. But also to get connected to employment opportunities, to get connected to housing, to get connected with other vets and the VA" Nelson said.
There is also a lounge to sit and talk with fellow service members. Nelson is a veteran himself, along with many of the new staff at the shelter.
"It’s always been one of my passions to try and do something for veterans, you know, and Volunteers of America of course has given me that opportunity,” Nelson said.
And now he hopes that opportunity is something he can use to help change lives.
"They're just looking to get back into the community and that’s what we want to try to do," Nelson said.
The shelter will have a ribbon cutting event on Tuesday, November 8 at 11:30 a.m. The public is welcome to attend.
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