Every year a statewide 24-hour homeless survey is done. This year it was completed in January and the results were released in April. The 2019 South Dakota statewide homeless count revealed that here in Sioux Falls, the number of homeless persons was 334.

That number was down from previous years and poverty advocates would argue that these surveys aren't always an accurate depiction of the problem. It depends on a number of factors, not the least of which is the weather.

Two years ago, over 900 children in the Sioux Falls school system were identified as being homeless. This is an indication that these surveys often don't reach everyone who is struggling with the issue.

Nevertheless, the fact that we have any homeless citizens in Sioux Falls, is heartbreaking. To bring awareness to the experience of homelessness, and to raise funds, tonight in the parking lot of the Bishop Dudley Hospitality House at 101 N. Indiana Avenue, from 6:30 PM to 6:00 AM tomorrow (Friday, October 25), thirteen Sioux Falls residents will be "sleeping out" during a "Night of Hope for the Homeless".

The volunteers will be sleeping in a tent on the ground, using a refrigerator box as shelter. They are also raising funds to support the continuing mission of the Bishop Dudley Hospitality House, which served over 1,600 individual guests and 56 families last year.

If you would like to donate to this cause or would like more information, please see the Bishop Dudley Hospitality House, or call executive director Madeline Shields at 605-809-8424.

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