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Identifying The Homeless

October 2, 2011, 10:00 PM by Don Jorgensen

Identifying The Homeless
SIOUX FALLS, SD - In South Dakota, more than 17-hundred people were considered homeless last year -- many of them children. But with the struggling economy that number is likely to grow. 

The homeless. Who are they? Where do they come from? How did it happen?

In Sioux Falls alone more than 600 people live on the streets.

"When you talk about poverty people automatically start tuning out. Homelessness is something even scarier for people because no one wants to think it could happen to them, but really it could. Lots of families are just a paycheck away from being on the street," Stacey Tieszen of Sioux Falls Homeless Advisory Board.

The Homeless Advisory Board just finished its annual survey; trying to identify who's homeless and why.

"Was it a flooding situation, natural disaster was it a loss of job which is definitely what we've seen a lot of or lack of employment, people are not working enough hours," Tieszen said.

The last survey found out 83 percent of those who were identified as homeless had jobs. But sadly, often times it's the children who are the innocent victims of homelessness. 

"In the last school year, we identified over a thousand children over the course of the year that at some point during that year were homeless," Executive Director of South Dakota Voices For Children Susan Randall said.

There has been a 400 percent increase in the number of identified homeless children in the Sioux Falls School District over the last decade. That's why the homeless survey is needed to help identify resources and funding to try and help homeless families get back on their feet and to make sure others don't walk the same homeless path.

The homeless advisory boards hopes to have the results of its survey by the end of the month. For more information on the Homeless Advisory Board click here.

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