The Link Community Triage Center in downtown Sioux Falls will serve as a starting point. Rather than visiting the emergency room, people can come to the Link to be connected to appropriate resources in the community.
A gift from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust will help renovate the existing office space. Walter Panzirer is a trustee and announced the gift over video. “Having a 24/7 mid-level care center like the link will help alleviate overcrowding in emergency rooms, so that’s a win-win for the community and Sanford and Avera because these folks can get help here," says Panzirer. It’s also intended as an alternative to jailing people who are highly intoxicated or experiencing another personal crisis. Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken says this project has been in the works for several years. “There’s a call right now in our country for social reform programs. People want to see us not just use incarceration for every challenge in our community, but what are other options. And this is an answer to that," TenHaken says. "This is something we’ve been working on long before the events of the last three or four months.” People can also come to the center without a referral. The Link is scheduled to open in February.