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South Dakota organization starts homeless count

South Dakota had almost 1500 homeless people living in the state last year. The South Dakota Housing for the Homeless Consortium does two counts a year to determine homeless numbers and set goals to reduce the problem. As SDPB’s Cassie Bartlett reports, homelessness affects people across the state.

Lisa Bondy is the statewide homeless coordinator. She says homelessness is more visible in the larger cities such as Rapid City or Sioux Falls, but even rural communities suffer. Bondy says the most concerning results are the amount of homeless children in the state. In 2011, South Dakota had almost 400 homeless children.

“To help the children, we need to help the parents. That’s what we try to work for because there should not be one homeless child in the state of South Dakota, or for that matter, one homeless veteran. But we do have them, and we are going to be working toward reducing that so they can have homes,” Bondy says.

Bondy says the most prevalent causes of homelessness are affordable housing, employment, substance abuse and mental illnesses. For South Dakota Public Broadcasting, I’m Cassie Bartlett.

The homeless count starts Tuesday. People wanting to volunteer can visit housingforthehomeless.org for contact information.