VOA Opens Outreach Center For Homeless Veterans
by Anna Lempereur, Reporter
November 09, 2011 4:32 PM
As the number of homeless veterans in Sioux Falls continues to be a growing issue, an organization is taking another step forward to put a stop to it by 2015. Volunteers of America, Dakotas held a ribbon cutting ceremony and open house this afternoon to celebrate a new outreach center.
"We are set up to provide an opportunity for them to see what resources there are in the community, and also, a place to come, get a cup of coffee, sit down, maybe watch a little TV, put some laundry in, or, if they need to, use our shower facilities. We have some computers here," said Pastor Al Paratt with Volunteers of America, Dakotas.
Officials with Volunteers of America, Dakotas said there are at least 300 homeless veterans in the area, and while the issue hits hard across the country, there needs to be more awareness.
"I kept hearing a consistent theme of wanting to reach out to those veterans that don't trust, that in the past, might have had some kind of situation where they just didn't feel comfortable. So they turned into being out of services, and possibly going into a homeless situation," said Paratt.
They said the goal is to give veterans a safe, trusting environment, and let them know that they are deserving members of our community.
"The staff that we've hired here are all veterans. I'm a Vietnam veteran, a combat veteran, and we have a secretary and a counselor here who are all veterans. So I think we bring that trust level," said Chris Nelson, Veterans Services Coordinator for Volunteers of America, Dakotas.
The center is located at 1113 E. 14th St. It is open from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.