SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — South Dakota officials have launched a program aimed at helping those struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The program is called 605 Strong, a crisis counseling effort from the state Department of Social Services, that will promote COVID-19 related resources and support, including crisis intervention, and access to the COVID-19 Call Center.

“Many individuals have been isolated from their families, have lost jobs or their businesses – the pandemic has impacted so many and we want to find a way to support them,” said DSS Cabinet Secretary Laurie Gill, in a news release. “The 605 Strong program will help connect South Dakotans with basic needs, financial assistance opportunities, government information, and mental health and family resources.”

The program is funded through a $210,723 grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The money will also pay for outreach to those impacted by COVID-19, including a follow-up program for individuals in "acute stress" and those in need of supportive contacts, stress management skills or connection to additional services, according to the DSS.

Lutheran Social Services will provide targeted outreach and support to refugees and their families working at affected employers in Sioux Falls, Aberdeen and Huron -- all home to COVID-19 outbreaks in meat processing plants, whose diverse workforces include many refugees and immigrants.

“As this program moves forward, the goal is to help as many people as possible, lifting up South Dakota so that businesses, families and individuals can move toward a stronger, brighter future,” Gill said.

As of Friday, June 27, South Dakota had 6,535 known COVID-19 cases and 88 deaths caused by the virus. There are 795 active COVID-19 cases and 79 people diagnosed with the virus currently in the hospital.

The 605 Strong program is funded through the first of a two-part Crisis Counseling Program grant, and DSS plans to apply for the second part of the grant this month, officials say. The grant would fund the program for an additional nine months.

The program's website is located at 605Strong.com.

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