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Noon News 4.17.19

A summit is taking place today in Sioux City to tackle the issues of homelessness, substance abuse and mental health concerns for the Siouxland Community.

The event is hosted by the Siouxland Street Project and the Community Initiative for Native Children and Families.

Here’s Co-Chair Frank LaMere.

“We need to give voice those who have none.  And, I’m doing my part.  And, I want the rest of the community to step up.”

Today’s event is a follow-up to a meeting that took place last June and LaMere says some progress was made but more work needs to be done.

“What we have done in Woodbury County we have chosen to elevate the discussion. We have come to that place we have come to understand that nothing changes unless someone is made to feel uncomfortable.  Nothing changes unless we make our selves uncomfortable.”

Joining the discussion today is Congressman Steve King who represents the 4thCongressional District.  He has asked Congress to provide funding for a detox center for the area.  Congressman King says 13-years ago, Indian Health Services stopped paying for an alcohol and drug treatment center.

“I don’t look at people and think well this race deserves some different services   Who needs the most help?  They are the ones who need to reach out for.” 

Members of Indian Health Services also are taking part in today’s event as well as The Siouxland Human Investment Partnership or SHIP, the Iowa Department of Human Services and substance abuse advocates. 

The federal agency that manages dams along the Missouri River received stern criticism from several U.S. senators Wednesday during a hearing held in Iowa to examine the massive spring flooding this year that caused more than $3 billion in damage in the Midwest.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is the focus of the U.S. Senate hearing. Critics have demanded that the agency make flood control its top priority, though Congress would have to act to change the Corps' priorities.

Iowa Republican Sen. Joni Ernst said flooding shouldn't be such a regular occurrence along the Missouri River, saying: "The trend of flood and rebuild, flood and rebuild must end." 

Meanwhile, Representatives of FEMA say so far 300 individuals have come forward requesting help in Woodbury County.  It was declared a Federal disaster area.

A team from FEMA went door-to-door in Hornick and Sioux City to find people impacted by flooding and ground water from a storm back on March 12th.

“Ever survivor with all of the documentation they need to get assistance.”

That’s FEMA spokesperson Rossy Rey who says there are new hours for the Disaster Relief Center at Western Iowa Tech Community College.  The center is now open Monday through Saturday 9 a.m. until 7 p.m.