Advocacy

Chamber Advocate 7/23/21

City Council Updates

First installment of funding for the Link received.

The City Council approved the receipt of the first installment of funding from the state of South Dakota for the Link. The initial payment is $800,000; a total of $3 million has been appropriated. The Link is a community triage center that provides 24/7 access, response and treatment in a safe, therapeutic environment for individuals experiencing non-violent mental health or addiction crisis.

Where did the money come from?
The $3 million was appropriated by the SD Legislature. Your Chamber, in collaboration with the City of Sioux Falls, advocated in support of SB 186 which sought to appropriate $3M for the Link. The bill’s prime sponsor was Senator Blake Curd. The bill’s passage was not a slam dunk, but working with Senator Curd and other sponsors including Senators Stalzer, Steinhauer, Smith (VJ), Zikmund and Nesiba and Representative(s) Rehfeldt, Duba Healy, Jamison, Milstead and Thomason the bill passed the legislature and was signed by Governor Noem.

What the Link does:

  • The Link leverages unique public-private partnerships that result in the effective and efficient use of finite community and financial resources. Overtime the Link will reduce costs associated with length stay.
  • Reduces sate costs by will reducing the number of mental health holds going to HSC. The impact will allow HSC to serve very high need individuals.
  • Saves dollars by targeting inpatient and outpatient care by providing medically assisted treatment and recommended services with community-based providers.
  • Direct service delivery – while saving lives and saving community and state resources.
  • Provides 24/7 access, response and treatment in a safe, therapeutic environment for individuals experiencing non-violent mental health or addiction crisis.
  • Saves government resources. Individuals with mental illness or substance use disorder frequently cycle in and out of an emergency departments or jail requiring significant time, effort and costs on the part of those entities as well as law enforcement for transport and processing.
  • The Link will connect individuals and families for appropriate longer-term services.

Funding sources:
The Link raised $6 million in private funds outside of the $3 million in federal funds.  Operations dollars raised thus far ($4.8M):

  • Minnehaha County – pledged $400,000 per year for three years starting in 2020.
  • City of Sioux Falls – pledged $400,000 per year for three years (includes value of donated city building for The Link). Starting in 2020
  • Avera Health $400,000 pledged per year for three years starting in 2020.
    • Donation of additional material and equipment for medical service
  • Sanford Health $400,000 a year for three years starting in 2020.
    • Donation of additional material and equipment for medical services (not quantified yet as the construction on the first floor is not complete).
  • Grants/Gifts received ($1,453,000):
    • The Helmsley Charitable Trust $500,000 – one time donation for construction
    • The Community Foundation $300,000 donation from the Seed for Success Foundation – one time donation
    • Smithfield Foods $400,000 – one time donation
    • Other private parties and foundations: $53,000 – one-time donations
    • State of South Dakota – $200,000 appropriation in 2019 for construction costs. Dollars will be accessed in 2021 but not yet received.

The Link is working!
The Link has performed over 400 patient triages in a six-week timeframe. It has been busier in the second month vs. the first month. They have received great reviews from law enforcement and hospital emergency room partners regarding the reduced jail and emergency room processing. The city is receiving positive feedback from people who have benefited from the Link’s services.

Land gifted by City to build tiny home community for vets

The Sioux Falls City Council approved gifting a plot of land near Axtell Middle School to an organization called Veterans Community Project (VCP) who plans to build a community of 15 tiny-homes to help homeless veterans. The VCP’s agreement with the city requires construction to begin within two years and has three years to complete their work once construction begins.

City Council provides advice and consent to mayoral appointments

Mayor TenHaken appointed Bobbi Andera, David Bangasser, Greg LaFollette, Gene McGowan and Mae Meierhenry to serve on the Public Parking Advisory Board. The term for each appointee is from July 2021 to July 2024. The City Council provided advice and consent to these appointments.

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