More than 75 homeless advocates from HUD-supported groups donned heavy winter jackets, snow boots, mittens and several layers of clothing and braved a recent 13-degree February morning in Sioux Falls. The volunteers held cardboard signs at busy intersections to raise awareness and remind commuters of the problems that homeless individuals and families face every day.
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Pay it Forward, a local group that raises money and gives it away anonymously sponsored the event called HOME, Homeless Outreach Morning Exercise. Pay It Forward is part of the Sioux Falls Homeless Coalition, which receives Community Development Block Grant funds through the city. HUD also funds transitional housing in Sioux Falls through Heartland House, the American Indian Services and the Sioux Falls Housing Authority. Other homeless services are provided by Goodwill Industries through their vocational skills for prisoners and homeless.
On the cardboard signs were messages about homelessness in Sioux Falls and the URL of a new website (www.humanlikeyou.com) that provides information about homelessness and how people can help.
Most commuters were supportive. Volunteers said many drivers honked signaling with a thumbs-up; others gave money to help the cause, and another agency received a donation of winter coats and money as a result of the event.