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New signs across Sioux City discourage giving money to panhandlers

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – Giving your spare change to those on the street can help a quick fix, but donating to a homeless agency can go a long way.   

“The donor can know that their money is being well spent when they give directly to the organizations and that it goes directly to the people that we serve,” said executive director of The Gospel Mission Randy Ehlers.

New signs across Sioux City are encouraging citizens to donate to Sioux City Assists, a community assistance program that helps those in the city’s rapid rehousing program.  

“What we do with the funds is that we provide assistance to those recently housed and we purchase items such as dishes, towels, laundry detergent, anything of that nature that they wouldn’t have, to kind of help them get a good start,” said City of Sioux City neighborhood services supervisor Amy Keairns.  

Sioux City Community Assists also encourages donations to several homeless agencies across Siouxland.   

“We do have a really strong continuum of care in our community,” said Keairns. “We have agencies that work together and they meet regularly to get people from the streets connected with the shelter, from shelter into some sort of program that is going to provide them services.”   

Nonprofits such as The Gospel Mission are excited to see the generosity of civilians go directly to good causes.  

“In general, the midwest people are generous, and when they see a need they want to help it,” said Ehlers. “I think it’s a matter of directing that generosity to the right organizations that can actually help the individuals.” 

Homelessness in Sioux City has grown to the point where some local businesses have seen a need and stepped up to help, including Brightside Cafe’s Feed It Forward initiative.   

“We saw a need,” said Brightside Café catering manager Linda Munoz. “It started out with a gentleman that came in and didn’t have money to pay for his food and he said that he would come in on the first and would pay and he did, so we kind of saw the need with that.”

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