Black Hills Regional Homeless Coalition introduce business toolkit

RAPID CITY, S.D. The Black Hills Regional Homeless Coalition is launching a series of ‘We Connect Community’ presentations this month and in May.

The presentations, scheduled for April 20 to May 24 at various locations in Rapid City, and designed for businesses and the general public to learn more about community resources available to assist those in crisis and to support staff and business operations impacted by homelessness in the Rapid City community.

According to the annual Point-in-Time Count, South Dakota is experiencing a 30 percent increase in homelessness.  This number only consists of those deemed literally homeless, defined as living on the streets, in camps, or in their cars, and does not take into account those who are doubled-up or rotating across households as a short-term solution.  This number results from rising expenses, limited housing inventory, and an increase in barriers related to mental health.  Beyond the individual, homelessness has also impacted area businesses as they attempt to respond to the growing number of people in need of support.

The presentations will introduce the City’s Co-response efforts on homelessness, Journey On as an immediate response option, and the Coalition’s Business Toolkit as a reference guide for homeless response.

 “The business toolkit approach is a first-of-its-kind approach in the country and we want to share the work that’s being done with our business community and the general public,” said Tara Wilcox of Volunteers of America of the Northern Rockies.

“The concept of ‘We Connect Community’ is defined as a community that shares an appreciation for both our differences and our universal humanity. In doing so, we strive to be well-connected as independent sectors to share in the responsibility of enhancing our well-being.”

The Business Toolkit will be distributed to participants at the presentation, offering practical guidance and tools for understanding and interacting with those experiencing homelessness or struggling with related barriers to stability.

“The toolkit provides the community – our businesses and citizens – with practical guidance on how to respond in these challenging situations,” said Wilcox.  “The co-response project as a whole is connecting emergency response with support services on a daily basis in a way that long-term outcomes are more feasible for the individual and for the community.”

The project is a collaborative effort between several organizations working on the homelessness issue in the community, including the City of Rapid City, Visit Rapid City, Rapid City Police Department, Journey On!, Rapid City Fire Department, 211 Helpline Center, Great Plains Tribal Leaders Health Board, Downtown Rapid City, Black Hills Area Community Foundation and Volunteers of America Northern Rockies.

Below is a schedule of the toolkit presentations:


DATE             TIME                         LOCATION

April 20           1-2:30 p.m.                  Best Western Ramkota Hotel (Bear Butte Room)

April 26           5:30-7 p.m.                  Hotel Alex Johnson

April 29           9:30-11 a.m.                Rushmore Mall Sub-Station (next to old Herbergers)

May 11            9-10:30 a.m.                Qdoba in Baken Park

May 18            9-10:30 a.m.                Qdoba in Rushmore Crossing

May 24            3-4:30 p.m.                  The Foundry Church


For more information on the ‘We Connect Community’ toolkit presentations, contact Tara Wilcox at 605-484-4741 or email .

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