Homelessness is often inaccurately seen as a "big city" problem. In Sioux Falls, SD, with an estimated population of 120,000 persons, there are a significant number of homeless. More and more families with young children are becoming homeless in Sioux Falls and a large portion of those families are headed by a single female with few or no job skills, living skills, education, or personal assets.
Inter-Lakes Community Action, Inc. (ICAP) and some concerned members of the Sioux Falls community have banded together to help the homeless. Heartland House, a transitional housing program for homeless families was started by ICAP to help these families. When Patricia Reagan, a resident of Sioux Falls, learned of the program she immediately volunteered to assist in whatever way possible. Through her participation, Pat has become a key component of the success of Heartland House.
Pat is the Chairperson of the Heartland House Advisory Council, which has raised more than $200,000 to support the program. In addition to developing ties to the community, and community support for the project, Pat has also made her own financial contributions to support Heartland House. She regularly speaks to businesses, service groups, churches and schools in order to raise awareness of the homeless problem and raise funds for the continued operation of Heartland House.
A large portion of the homeless served at Heartland House do not have a high school diploma and have little to no work experience. Pat, who owns several employment services in North and South Dakota, has provided many of the residents with in-depth assistance in developing resumes, interviewing techniques and other job-seeking skills. She has also assisted many of the participants in obtaining employment and counseling on how to be a valued employee.
Pat states that her sole reward for her many hours of service is the knowledge that she has been able to make a difference in the lives of people whom are less fortunate. Her efforts have offered a ray of hope where otherwise there may have been none.