Cornerstone Rescue Mission grapples with $70k budget reduction

Mayor contends cuts were necessary

The Cornerstone Rescue Mission in Rapid City spent Tuesday trying to figure out how to move forward after the City Council approved cuts to a number of local programs.

They voted on Monday 6 to 4 to pass the cuts, which include roughly $50,000 from the Rapid City Fire Department, $4,000 from the Humane Society of the Black Hills and $70,000 from the Cornerstone Rescue Mission.

Though the cuts sting, Rapid City Mayor Steve Allender said on Monday that recent investments into the Pennington County ‘Care Campus’ are long-term solutions to homelessness instead of feeding and housing people day by day.

“We’re spending well in excess $1 million a year doing nothing to help these folks,” Allender said. “We’re just keeping them alive one more day, just keeping them warm one more night, filling their belly one more day.”

The roughly 40 percent cuts to Cornerstone will be felt as the winter months approach. Lysa Allison, the executive director for the Mission, said that this summer has been particularly busy for the mission, with just as many people staying as there are in the winter. Allison also said that with the reductions, they’ll have to cut services, including case management and transportation services to the Department of Motor Vehicles and other offices.

“We’re not going to be able to provide assistance for drivers licenses, birth certificates, ID cards, everything you need for housing,” Allison said. “It’s got us stuck in the middle. We have a lot of more people coming in, but not a lot of outgo because we cant place them in housing.”

Cornerstone’s funding wasn’t always like this however. Prior to 2017 they did not receive any general funds from the city. Now, they are still receiving $100,000 from the city, even with the reduction. And for that, Allison said they’re still grateful.

“We understand they voted, they discussed it, and they made their decision,” Allison said. “We’re still grateful we’re in the city budget.”

A Community Effort

As Rapid City searches for solutions to its homelessness problem, Allender said the responsibility lies on the community.

“For the $70,000 that was taken from the Cornerstone Rescue Mission, that equates to $1.27 for every adult in Rapid City,” said Allender. “Pony up $1.27 per person and restore the $70,000. This is a community organization that needs private funding to survive.

Categories: Local News, Politics & Elections