, 2022-12-18 09:02:43,
Rapid City, SD (Watch South Dakota News) – A new front in South Dakota’s fight against homelessness involves using “street outreach teams” to identify and interact with at-risk individuals in the community and get them the help they need, while shifting some of that responsibility away from law enforcement.
The effort is an acknowledgment by government officials in Rapid City and Sioux Falls that the origins of homelessness and drug addiction are complex and often mingled with mental health issues, and that getting to the root of the problem can have a more lasting impact than simply providing meals or temporary shelter.
The Street Outreach Strategy — the top recommendation of the Sioux Falls Homeless Task Force formed in the summer of 2022 — also addresses the fact that Native Americans make up a disproportionate number of South Dakota’s homeless population, creating cultural and language barriers that in some cases prevent meaningful intervention. , especially when the police are initially on the scene.
“Law enforcement can be well-equipped and well-trained, but a lot of times for the individuals that we deal with, an attitude of hostility will start because they see (police officers) that are not necessarily the ones they are looking for,” said John Thom, Sioux Falls Police Chief, who worked with the task force to search for them. Solutions.” Someone who comes from a different background or perspective and has the time to build relationships…
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