Report: Homelessness remains prevalent in Sioux Falls area


SIOUX FALLS (AP) – Homelessness remains more prevalent in Sioux Falls than other similarly sized cities, despite the area’s decadelong effort to eradicate it, according to a new report.

In 2005, Sioux Falls and Minnehaha County officials set out to eradicate homelessness by 2015 with the establishment of the Homeless Advisory Board. But the Augustana Research Institute’s report shows that goal was not met.

According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Sioux Falls had 219 homeless people for every 100,000 residents during a 2018 count. Boise, Idaho, had 173.3; Des Moines, Iowa had 163.5; and Sioux City, Iowa, had 214.8.

ARI director Suzanne Smith, who was the principal investigator assigned to the assignment, did not respond to a request for comment.

Despite the increase in homelessness, the report did find that homeless people in Sioux Falls are more likely to be sheltered compared to other communities. During the 2018 count, 184 homeless people in the city for every 100,000 residents were sheltered, according to HUD data.

The findings will be presented to city councilors and county commissioners Tuesday, the Argus Leader reported. The ARI will make recommendations to address homelessness and accessible and affordable housing.

Chellee Unruh, Sioux Falls’ housing manager, said the recommendations will include how to assemble a new panel to address homelessness and housing that's more effective than the HAB.

Unruh noted that the new panel will also fall under the city's Affordable Housing Division, which will give it more budget authority.

"(HAB) would come up with a plan, but they didn’t have a budget or any authoritarian influence to make things actually go forward," Unruh said. "Now that board will be able to leverage the funding sources from the housing division of the city."

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