RCCI explains how proposed housing center can break poverty cycle

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RAPID CITY, S.D. -

Rapid City Collective Impact (RCCI) unveiled details about a proposed transformation center in a community meeting on Monday.

RCCI hopes for the One Heart Center to break the cycle of poverty by equipping people with the tools to overcome personal challenges. The 4-acre transitional housing center would work together with the Pennington County Restoration Center across from the Public Safety Building to assist families and individuals of all ages.

Thanks to a private funding source, RCCI currently has $9 million for the $16 million facility. They're considering applying for the city's Vision Fund for the remaining money. Vision Fund projects are funded by a half-cent sales tax, and they're meant to benefit the city as a whole.

The all-inclusive center would provide services for behavioral health, affordable housing, and food security. To be admitted, residents must be drug and alcohol free.

Teenagers and young adults who age out of foster care would be allowed to stay at the center to develop life skills.

Charity Doyle, the project manager for RCCI, said Rapid City needs to take steps to address and solve homelessness.

"We are talking about changing an entire system, with dozens of moving parts,” Doyle said.

She also said that many people are one or two large expenses away from poverty.

“Homelessness really is a reflection of the health of our community, and so we all should be concerned, and we're all paying for it right now,” she said. “So the question is, do we want to continue to pay for it just to make poverty more tolerable? It is growing in our community. It has even increased another 1,000 people that have ... fallen below the poverty line in just the last year. Or do we want to take measures to address the issue and help lift these people out? They want it, they're ready, they're motivated. They just don't know where to go.”

Doyle said that with the center being so close to downtown, the homeless population would have more opportunities with public transportation.

At a Pennington County Commissioners meeting last month, some community members expressed concern about the One Heart Center's close proximity to downtown and the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.

Doyle told members of the public that both the Cornerstone Rescue Mission and the One Heart Center's model, Haven for Hope, have not reported any violent crimes in the last year. 

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