Entries Tagged 'Homeless' ↓

Downtown Sioux Falls Nelson Park is the new day drinking place to be

As I mentioned a few days ago, Nelson Park’s green space north of the pool is now the new drinking hangout. If you stroll thru the park you will see clothes in the trees, empty food and beer containers, people passed out or drinking. This is why they put the banner on the pool fence.

Also, you can apparently do your laundry under the Arc of Dreams in the Big Sioux. And yes, this lady was washing her clothes in the river. I heard the E-Coli gets out stains.

Homeless advocates email council to vote against Task Force

While I support the task force to combat homelessness, I do agree with a couple of aspects from the people who emailed the city council to oppose it. The data and research has been done for several years, you just need to act and I think the TF should consist of stakeholders in the neighborhood, not friends of the mayor and council. Michelle makes some good points about the opportunity to act over the years. Mayor TenHaken promised in his 1st campaign he would make it a priority, the problem has only gotten worse. It will be an interesting debate tonight.

The first email is from former city councilor Michelle Erpenbach;

Good afternoon, City Council members.

Thank you for your service, and for taking a few minutes to review my reasons for asking you to vote no tomorrow on item 76 — against yet another Homeless Task Force. I would be there in person Tuesday, but I will be working in a neighborhood where Thrive’s Kid Link initiative is supporting programming that seeks to help prevent homelessness among children in our schools.

Homelessness is a complex topic that does not have a single silver-bullet solution. It takes many individuals and organizations with like minds and missions, working collaboratively! Your proposed new task force would splinter existing efforts while ignoring work that has been done recently — and continues to be done – by city staff, Helpline and other local non-profits, members of the Thrive Housing Action Team, and by the city/county Accessible Housing Advisory Board.

It’s time to stop studying and start doing, friends. I’m happy to schedule time to help you catch up with this important topic. In the meantime, please review these links and my comments:

  1. Thrive Housing Action Team (including city, county, and federal staff!) created a Housing Retention Specialist in 2021. Pilot program at East River Legal Services has successfully prevented eviction for 9 families and their children in just a year of operation. The real need? City partnership to take this from pilot to sustainability. Read more: https://siouxfallsthrive.org/children-families-secure-housing/. These conversations are already in the works.
  2. The Accessible Housing Advisory Board, city staff Amos Abu, and a variety of housing stakeholders including Helpline Center and Thrive are working on a Housing Navigation Portal that will help connect tenants with potential housing that meets their existing needs and budget. The real need? Council support and funding to help make the portal a reality.
  3. Former city housing staff (Chellee Unruh) met with clients of the St. Francis House and others to learn more about specific needs from that unique community. The real need? I would recommend reviewing this existing data, so you get a better understanding of this topic from the people living it every day.
  4. Thrive Housing Action Team (again, including city, county, and federal staff) created the OneRoof project that is providing wraparound services for those families who are most difficult to house. This is no longer a pilot and is thriving inside The Community Outreach. Read more: https://siouxfallsthrive.org/oneroof-evaluation/The real need? City support for the unmet needs that some of these folks continue to have.
  5. City/county project Just Home is tackling homelessness for those people impacted by the justice system. The real need? Council members to become well-versed in this important project and ready to support proposals that will come your way within months.
  6. Key non-profits are providing services for our unhoused neighbors. The real need? City council members to acknowledge the important work of St. Francis House, Bishop Dudley and UGM, and encourage them to work together in a stronger spirit of collaboration.
  7. Finally, the biggest need is for more local money without state/federal strings attached for building housing that is affordable to the poorest of our neighbors. Those in the 30% of AMI range. This comes in the form of a Housing Trust Fund. Even Rapid City has an HTF now and it is fully funded while the city of Sioux Falls didn’t grasp the idea when it was proposed 10 years ago. Thrive’s Housing Action Team is taking the challenge and will have a presentation for you in the coming months.

Again, please don’t splinter ongoing work and collaborations. Please encourage the city to instead join these organizations in building a better partnership and collective impact.

Stop studying and start doing.

Michelle Erpenbach

President

Sioux Falls Thrive

The second email is from Anny Libengood from Minnehaha County Human Services;

Hi, I am a social worker and was a front line worker at Human Services for 18 years. Most recently I was the Housing Navigator. During this time, I became closely and extensively involved in the lives of many vulnerable people in addition to learning the inner workings of community resources. 

The first thing elected leaders need to do is educate themselves on what work and research has already been done. They need to know what programs are out there, have been out there, and what programs need to shift and what programs need to stop duplicating services/resources. About 15 years ago, we had a 10 year plan to end homelessness as did many communities. We also had the Homeless Advisory Board that did extensive work and research. Did we implement anything? No. Fast forward 15 years and we now have TWO Augustana research studies telling us what the community needs to do. The research was extensive and included perspectives of front line staff and those experiencing homelessness. What have we done with these studies? Checked the box that we did them, I guess. “We” just keep creating groups because “we” can’t figure out what to do. (Thrive, Forward SF, Empower, AHAB, Sioux Empire Leadership Council, etc. etc.) and then none of them talk to each other. Stop studying the problem over and over again. It’s time to start the work. 

A couple of reasons the Bishop Dudley police calls have tripled is because the former director was a former police officer. It was easy for the calls to not be “logged”- and yes this is true. He told me this himself when I was providing case management to the homeless families staying there. He didn’t want the neighborhood or powers above him to see the calls and start complaining. Also, his no trespass list was longer than my arm. The current director has to go through regular police call protocols and she is trying to respect the mission of the BDHH which is Open Doors, Open Arms.

Please reconsider this Task Force and Study idea. I am willing to help educate. All you have to do is ask.

Thank you. I plan to be at the council meeting tomorrow.

Mayor TenHaken says Sioux Falls is a nice place to live, work, play & be homeless

Don’t take my word for it;


“There’s no good way to say this, but we are a nice community to be homeless in,” he said. By that, he means that our social service agencies such as The Banquet and Bishop Dudley Hospitality House are strong, well-run organizations. The churches in Sioux Falls are financially stable. The people are generous.



I become less surprised each time Poops tells us exactly what he thinks. First he didn’t sign up for the job, then he thinks candidates are jealous of him when he uses inside information to benefit his campaign, then he is angry about alleged pervert cops now he acts like living homeless in Sioux Falls is the lap of luxury.

It is amazing how incredibly tone deaf our mayor is. He has NO clue of the amount of slum housing and poverty we have in this city, and he doesn’t seem to care, as long as the non-profits take care of it for us.

The city has the resources to make public transit, employment and housing better, but they live in the shiny glass house on the hill and wish the minions below the best of luck.

Many of our issues with food insecurity, housing, addiction and employment could be simply fixed by seeking higher wage employers to which Poops response is ‘we can’t continue this wage inflation, it’s not sustainable.’ But I guess we can continue to allow non-profits to bail out the poor?

The Tifilicious Welfare Downtown Developers want to buy up the homeless shelters

I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry when I read this article about the DTSF developers behind Cherapa XXX;

And concerns about Cherapa Place colliding with Bishop Dudley Hospitality House or Union Gospel Men’s Center have not made developers wary. Although there might be the possibility that rising values could cause the shelters to sell, overall Pendar Properties hopes to work on a solution that works for all parties.

“I think what we do is we make this work together. There is a division, but it can be something we make positive,” Scherschligt told the Argus Leader.

Gee, like putting them somewhere else to begin with? It reminds me of the quiet zones. This stuff should have been negotiated to begin with, now we are going to throw even more tax dollars at the problems (that is who is paying for the quiet zones and eventually the relocation of the shelters).

I don’t expect our leaders to have a ton of vision, well maybe I do, but common sense would be nice.

Panhandling Sign Changes

The situation at The Dudley House is worsening

I have often assumed that it was only a matter of time that people started dying in the parking lot at the Dudley House. Only a few months ago a stabbing occurred across the street and we also found out recently that calls to that intersection (area) make up 20% of ALL police calls in our city.

Now someone has died in their car in the parking lot due to a fire. While there is an ongoing investigation, some of my city hall moles have told me what initially was found. It was likely NOT foul play or an ACCIDENT. There is also a rumor going around that the person was a resident of the facility but was having some conflicts with them.

Like I said, the investigation is ongoing, but the SFFD needs to be upfront and honest with what happened, no matter what it was. You must first face the truth before solving a problem.

As you know, I have been pressuring the Mayor and the City Council to act with a task force that involves the entire neighborhood and other city resources. I have been told over the last couple of days the new Police Chief has been trying to come up with a strategy to fix some of the issues. I remain adamant this is a community issue that must to solved publicly and transparently involving many groups. I would even be willing to serve on the task force since this issue does overflow into my neighborhood almost a mile away.

I honestly believe that the reason no public task force is being put together is because it is 4 months from an election and if certain people in office just ignore the problem or try to quietly solve it on their own it will just go away.

I wish Chief Thum the best of luck, but I think he knows this will take a village to solve not a quiet baton.

Sioux Falls Dudley House Director blames VA and Poor Public Transit for Homeless issues

In November, the Director of the Dudley House Homeless shelter, Madeline Shields, shared her frustration with Jon Micheals on FORUM. While she praised the SFPD she shared a lot of frustration with how the VA doesn’t help (without using their name) and that Public Transit is almost non-existent on the weekends. While I would agree with her public transit is a complete turd mobile and the VA is a joke, there are solutions.

She said that it is hard for people who live in the shelter to get to work on the weekends if they work at hotels without public transit. First off, the hotels could pick them up since most of them have shuttle buses and secondly, this is what happens when you build a shelter where there are few jobs nearby for those who live there.

As for the VA, why not have a constant/permanent contact with them, or better yet, get in touch with our supposed three pro-veteran congressional delegates and tell them the issues (oh that’s right none of them have ever served.)

Shields also said that in order for them to get work, they must have a birth certificate to get an ID and those items should be FREE to the residents. Or, the shelter could start and endowment fund to help them pay for it? They come up with $200 a day for lunch, but don’t have a fund for IDs? OR get a hold of our legislators and get it changed.

There is also a need for more FELON FRIENDLY housing, which I would agree, but developers and contractors work on a GREED only basis. TIFs for Condos NOT for former CONVICTS.

She also says many choose to live outside instead of taking advantage of the shelter. While this is true, they certainly don’t need to be using your parking lot, we can come up with options.

I get her frustration with how many government programs are set up OR not set up, but this is why I have been telling people you have to put many heads together to come up with a solution(s). Just going on FORUM and complaining about it doesn’t fix it.

Honestly, I don’t understand the resistant to trying to solve this issue. Shields is right, it’s not all in her lap, but she has to be willing to reach out for solutions. Homelessness doesn’t solve itself on its own. Maybe after the City Council and Mayor get their 30% raise next year, they’ll start tackling the homeless issue ☹

Someone from the Sioux Falls Media finally covers the Chaos at the Dudley House

Another Broken Poops Promise, when he was running for Mayor he said he would close the Dudley House because he would eliminate homelessness in Sioux Falls. That reminds me of the time I said I would not get drunk on St. Patty’s then 20 minutes later I was finishing my 3rd Irish Car bomb (they are very delicious).

The Argus finally did a story about it, the day they shut off the presses and made it only for online subscribers which is an intriguing editing decision from the braintrust running that joint.

What is that saying about a bear in the woods?

While it is an interesting story (that no one will see or read), this part literally had me fall out of my chair;

Since 2017, failure to vacate has been the top call to police near Eighth Street and Indiana Avenue. Thus far in 2021, it’s accounted for 20% of the 531 criminal reports taken by the police, according to data collected by the Argus Leader.

Maybe I am reading that wrong (I hope I am) but ONE intersection in this city accounts for 20% of the city’s criminal calls and reports in the entire city!? WTF!?

As I have said in the past, there is NO one solution, but in order to have a solution people need to put their heads together. That means people who live in the neighborhood, the businesses, the SFPD the City Council, churches and many others. When is the City Council and Mayor (you know, the supposed leaders of this town who drive autonomous vehicles thru Tuesday night meetings) going to call on a task force to be put together and have aggressive public meetings to combat this? A vigorous open public discussion with the community could put some solutions in motion. Blaming Covid for the problem or as Police Chief Thumbs did the ‘neighborhood’ area just doesn’t cut it.

Of course, you will see little to no action, even though I do know that some councilors and patrol officers do want solutions, but who has time for 8th & Indiana when we have Blizzards to hand out at Dairy Queen?

Sioux Falls Panhandling signs are being covered up

I’ll say it again, those who are panhandling are NOT doing it because of food insecurity, they are doing it to get drunk. I have watched this activity for several years in my neighborhood. But I disagree with the signs instructing people to give to charity. I have often said the signs should say something like, ‘GIVING TO PANHANDLERS WHILE THEY OBSTRUCT TRAFFIC IS AGAINST THE LAW’ SD CL 22-18-40

Codified Laws § 22-18-40. Unless otherwise directed by law enforcement or other emergency personnel or to seek assistance for an emergency or inoperable vehicle, no person may stand upon the paved or improved or main-traveled portion of any highway with intent to impede or stop the flow of traffic.

Panhandling is a protected 1st Amendment freedom, what is NOT legal is for the drivers to hand them money from the window of their cars while they impede traffic. I have said we need to change city ordinance so that the panhandler isn’t charged but the driver for luring them into traffic.

Sioux Falls Media ignoring the issues with the Bishop Dudley House neighborhood, and it’s PATHETIC!

As we know this happened this week;

A Sioux Falls man who was stabbed in the head earlier this week has died in a hospital, police say. 
Christopher Joel Mousseaux, 32, was stabbed Sunday night and died Wednesday night, police spokesman Sam Clemens said. An autopsy was set to be performed Thursday.
Steven Tuopeh, 26, and Jeff Pour, 28, were arrested separately on Tuesday and charged with aggravated assault, Clemens said.
Mousseaux was stabbed around 10:30 p.m. Sunday near Eighth Street and Indiana Avenue, Clemens said.


For several months the Dudley House exterior property and adjacent public property has been the stomping ground for transients not allowed in the facility. They have been crapping, urinating, drinking, shootin’ up, fighting, sleeping and fornicating on the property or adjacent public property. Neighborhood complaints have been lodged at the SFPD, the Sioux Falls City Council, the Mayor, the Catholic Diocese who runs the house, the house director herself and several other organizations who assist the facility to no avail.

Now we have a person who has been murdered. Stabbed and beaten to death.

(the incident supposedly started at a bar on 8th and occurred directly North of the Dudley in a parking lot the volunteers use at the Banquet)


The media really needs to report the facts of what is going on in and around the Dudley House in that neighborhood, this is NOT a random isolated incident, the area around this facility has fallen into complete chaos and NOBODY wants to fix it and the MEDIA is dead silent about it.


We may humor the term ‘Fake News’ but in Sioux Falls we have ‘No News’.


It seems the city is handling this like they handled Covid, ignore it and maybe it will eventually go away.