City officials seek public input to address homelessness in Sioux City

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SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) — Community leaders, along with city council members, came together on Tuesday to look for ways to address homelessness in the city. The session follows the removal of a homeless encampment last week.

Emmauel Angui has been homeless since last year and the recent encampment cleanups have added more uncertainty into his life.

“That’s where we sleep, now he’s putting our blanket out. He’s taking it out. So where am I going to sleep tonight? Where am I going to sleep?” Angui asks.

At the special meeting, citizens expressed concerns, ranging from the lack of affordable housing to insufficient education about available resources.

Several people who work with the homeless laid out their case to Sioux City Council members but Paul Mahaffie, the executive director of The Gospel Mission, said there are underlying issues to homelessness.

“We deal with alcohol. We deal with drug addictions, gambling addictions. We deal with abusive situations where women with children are being abused. We have even a single men’s facility with children which amazes me,” Mahaffie said.

Community inclusion liaison Semhar Ghebrekidan said she looks forward to the citizens submitting their request for action at the next meeting.

“We’ll have a good talk and hopefully we’ll put some pen to paper and we can send something to council so that we can change this policy so that next time we don’t have this kind of incident happening and that everyone is really well informed, well communicated when something of this sort happens,” Ghebrekidan said.

Ghebrekidan said Siouxlanders can contact her with ideas and concerns regarding homelessness in Sioux City.

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