SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) — As downtown Sioux City continues to grow, with new business and housing opportunities so does the city’s homeless population, according to Sioux City Police.
Downtown workers that KCAU 9’s Jason Takhtadjian spoke with Wednesday voiced their concerns for the physical and mental well beings of the homeless population, but the problem has some employees keeping their guards up.
“Sometimes they come in and they’re fine and they don’t bother anybody, and the days that they come in and they are bothering somebody, I’d love to be able to call resources to help us out,” Rachel Tudehope said.
Tudehope is a manager at HardlineCcoffee. She’s noticed an increased homeless population in downtown Sioux City and she wishes there was a better way to help the homeless.
“I am not equipped to do that as a barista here at a coffee shop, but if I had a phone number I could call somebody to help somebody whose having a mental health day, then that would be wonderful,” she said.
Tudehope is not alone. A downtown worker who didn’t want their name used spoke to us about the homelessness problem and provided the following statement
“it has greatly affected many businesses and employees as well as the general community in downtown Sioux City. We see a lot of untreated and undiagnosed mental and physical illnesses in people around here and sometimes, they get aggressive. And while it has led to some of us keeping our guard up, we really do feel for them.”
The homeless population in Sioux City has grown tremendously over the last few years which may be because Sioux City has a lot to offer the homeless.
Sgt. Tom Gill with Sioux City Police said his department is aware of the ongoing problems caused by the homeless.
“We do get frequent calls, especially from downtown businesses, almost on a daily basis because maybe somebody that works in that business comes to work in the morning and they might see a homeless person laying on the ground or in the entryway.”
The increase in the homeless population is also being noticed by officials with a local sober living home. The president of Hope Street said cities and counties need to do a better job getting people’s lives back on track.
“We really feel that the system is missing is people, governments, cities and counties throwing money at the homeless, but just to try and figure out how to house them, where to put them,” said Dave Ferris, president of Hope Street.
Ferris hopes one day, the city can learn from his organization.
“Since June of 2019 we have officially 54 men that are back in society and off the homeless rolls,” Ferris said.
Homelessness in siouxland is a complex issue with no clear solution, but everyone Takhtadjian spoke to Wednesday held the same sentiment at the end of the day, these are people who need help and they need solutions to their problems.