Siouxland Homeless Sleepout, Sioux City

13 Nov

Again this year the Siouxland Sleepout was at the Sioux City, Iowa, Lewis and Clark baseball stadium, and is an annual event bringing awareness to the plight of homeless individuals and families. The  Siouxland Coalition to End Homelessness co-sponsors the event as a fund raiser, supporting Henry Muller Hall, Siouxland Mental Health’s Project Restore and Shesler Hall as well as other projects it states as funds allows. A number of youth organizations and churches as well as families camp out, constructing shelters from cardboard boxes and sleeping out overnight, sometimes with temperatures reaching the teens, to help themselves understand more about homelessness.

This year’s event seemed to have less people attending than last year’s. But I didn’t sleep out overnight so can not say if more individuals showed up to participate or not. The plight of homeless individuals is real, and like the “war on drugs”, is not going away anytime soon. Annual events like this bring awareness to these continual circumstances and problems, but like movies with sequels, it is predictable that as a community we will be “celebrating” this event again next year, gone for a year from our collective consciouness. And without a real celebration to denote that homelessness is no more which would be the ultimate sleepout celebration.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

2 Responses to “Siouxland Homeless Sleepout, Sioux City”

  1. Ken Cohen December 18, 2013 at 6:38 pm #

    Appears in Social Innovation
    by Jenny Shank on December 12, 2013

    Utah Is on Track to End Homelessness by 2015 With This One Simple Idea
    Give them an apartment first, ask questions later.

    Utah has reduced its rate of chronic homelessness by 78 percent over the past eight years, moving 2000 people off the street and putting the state on track to eradicate homelessness altogether by 2015. How’d they do it? The state is giving away apartments, no strings attached. In 2005, Utah calculated the annual cost of E.R. visits and jail stays for an average homeless person was $16,670, while the cost of providing an apartment and social worker would be $11,000. Each participant works with a caseworker to become self-sufficient, but if they fail, they still get to keep their apartment. Other states are eager to emulate Utah’s results. Wyoming has seen its homeless population more than double in the past three years, and it only provides shelter for 26 percent of them, the lowest rate in the country. City officials in Casper, Wyoming, now plan to launch a pilot program using the methods of Utah’s Housing First program. There’s no telling how far the idea might go.

    • jerrymennenga December 19, 2013 at 7:41 pm #

      Somehow I don’t seen see the state of Iowa or the local municipality being so “generous”. It is probably easier just to have the sleepout, to make people feel better about themselves. That is not true of all, but I don’t know what if any thing has been proposed to do more.

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