Sioux Falls, SD—U.S. Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD) today visited the Volunteers of America (VOA), Dakotas Berakhah House in Sioux Falls and discussed efforts to end homelessness among veterans in the local community and across the nation. As Chairman of the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee, Johnson has worked to secure funding for veterans housing and assistance to take our nations heroes off the street.
“The Secretary of Veterans Affairs has made a commitment to end veterans’ homelessness. This is an ambitious goal, but it’s one we can and must accomplish. Volunteers of America, Dakotas is playing a crucial role in addressing veterans’ homelessness in the Sioux Falls area and is an important partner for the VA. Our veterans served their nation honorably, and our goal should be nothing less than making sure all of them have a place to call home,” Johnson said.
The Berakhah House is a partnership that was formed in 2010 between the Catholic Diocese of Sioux Falls, VOA, Dakotas, and the Sioux Falls VA Medical Center to provide short-term emergency transitional housing for homeless veterans.
Residents stay in one of the nine individual efficiency units equipped with kitchen facilities and on-site laundry for an average length of 60 days. In November VOA, Dakotas opened a Veteran’s Outreach Center downtown which provides access laundry, showers, kitchen and computers to veterans and their families.
As Chairman, in Fiscal Year 2012 Johnson helped to secure $939 million in funding to address veterans’ homelessness. This includes $202 million for Housing and Urban Development and Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing vouchers to help place veterans in permanent housing, as well as $224 million for the Transitional Housing Grant & Per Diem Program.
Johnson also heard plans for VOA, Dakotas to use their recent Home Depot grant to renovate and repair the Berakhah House. They will use the roughly $130,000 grant on various projects, including a new roof, parking lot repairs, and kitchen renovations.
Today’s tour is one in a series of events Johnson is holding across South Dakota during the Congressional District Work Period. Johnson has already held events in Rapid City and will hold an event in Flandreau later in the week.