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VPU’s 1310 Series: County Welfare Programs Look to Protect Families, Children

On the second installment of Viewpoint University’s “The Number is 1310” series Tuesday, Rick Knobe and Dan Peters talked to Carol Muller, head of the Minnehaha County human services department and Stacey Tieszen, the county’s homeless coordinator.

They addressed generational and situational poverty in the city. Muller said about half of her office’s welfare caseload is situational—such as temporary poverty caused by job loss or health problems—and the other half is generational, or a family in poverty two or more generations.

The women noted that they might see people in situational poverty more intensely over a year or less, while generational poverty has its own challenges.

“I think the generational clients are a lot more frustrating for case workers, they’re not making as much progress, they’re stumbling over the same things and making the same excuses,” Tieszen said. “And so when it comes down to why do we have to help these people again, I come to what Carol said, we don’t want kids on the streets, we don’t want kids in the shelters. So while parents might not make the best choices we still want to support that family.”

Approximately 47 percent of the county’s poor relief case load comes from single men and women, 41 percent from families and 6 percent from couples. They also said that Sioux Falls has the highest rate of working single mothers in the country.

Muller further noted that despite Sioux Falls’ glowing economic news, a new national employer learned something odd about their new workforce.

“When they were doing their job interviewing process, and they’re paying probably between $13 and $30 an hour for most of their positions out there,” Muller said. “The one comment they made more than once is how many people they interviewed that have more than one job.”

Also, Rick, Dan and their guests revealed what “1310” means. It is the hourly rate a single person needs to make in Sioux Falls to afford a typical one bedroom apartment without subsidies.

1140 KSOO-AM

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