Emergency shelter for sick homeless individuals ready for use

RAPID CITY, S.D. — After several weeks in development, Rapid City’s Emergency Shelter for sick homeless individuals is now operational and ready for use.

The shelter is located in the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center’s Rushmore Hall and is a major collaborative effort among many community organizations.

The 100-bed temporary shelter will be used to provide a clean, climate-controlled facility for personal hygiene and meals that support the recovery of homeless individuals who are ill.

Tents are set up at the Memorial Park for staff to screen all individuals before entering the shelter. If necessary, individuals who exhibit symptoms of COVID-19 may be referred for the safety of staff and everyone at the facility.

“Shelter options for the homeless are often overwhelmed and over capacity,” said Rapid City Mayor Steve Allender.  “COVID-19 has challenged the limits of many community services and this emergency shelter will help address the needs of the homeless who are ill and have no other options.”

Many agencies contributed to the emergency shelter including: Rapid City Pennington County Emergency Management, Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board, Oyate Health Center, Pennington County Health and Human Services, Monument Health, Community Health of the Black Hills, Volunteers of America Northern Rockies, American Red Cross, Salvation Army, Pennington County, City of Rapid City, Rapid City Fire Department, John T. Vucurevich Foundation, ,the Care Campus, the Civic Center and members of the Black Hills Regional Homeless Coalition.

Temporary renovations to the Civic Center’s 40,000 square-foot Rushmore Hall were made to also provide showers. The Civic Center staff will make three meals a day, taking advantage of the kitchen facility to better help those in need.

The shelter will house individuals who have fallen ill until they have recovered and been observed for the recommended amount of time without exhibiting signs or symptoms of COVID-19. The shelter will also house those who are sick until a long-term housing solution can be found.

“This emergency shelter will provide a number of services and meet a very real need for our area’s homeless, who are ill and who have no other options as we work through this COVID-19 crisis,” said Jerilyn Church, Chief Executive Officer of the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board.

The manager of the shelter will be Norma Rendon of Where All Women Are Honored. Medical needs of the shelter’s clients will be overseen by The Oyate Center, Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board, Rapid City Fire Department’s Mobile Medic, Monument Health and Community Health of the Black Hills.

The shelter is scheduled to provide care services until June 26.


Categories: Coronavirus, Local News, South Dakota News