Local first responders, organizations shine light on Rapid City homeless issue
The Black Hills Regional Homeless Coalition is kicking off its "We Connect Community" presentations that shed a light on the homeless issue in Rapid City.
RAPID CITY, S.D. — Local business owners received a presentation on Rapid City’s homeless situation from city leaders and first responders, along with the Black Hills Regional Homeless Coalition.
The coalition kicked off its “We Connect Community” presentations, which will be held at different locations throughout the city until May 24.
Speakers spoke to business owners about their options for addressing a homeless person’s situation and how that impacts their business.
“The business toolkit is really meant for business owners and their employees to equip them with very practical tools so that they can interface and interact with those experiencing houselessness that may reach out to those businesses or interact with their businesses,” said Tara Wilcox, of Volunteers of America of the Northern Rockies.
Over the past few years, the coalition says it estimates a 30-percent rise in the number of homeless individuals, from about 353 to nearly 460.
But according to RCPD, a new organization called Journey On has helped take away half of homeless calls coming into the police.
Journey On officials say that by calling them, it helps the police handle more serious situations and it helps to solve the problem by not only giving those in need help, but also connecting the business owner to the person in need.
“By doing that and being able to give that time and that support, it’s implemented a lot of change in our houseless community and I’m very proud of our team for being so committed to that and I’m very, very thankful for the resources that we take them to for being so open, too,” said Krystal Rencountre of Journey On.
The next presentation will be held at The Hotel Alex Johnson next Tuesday, April 26, from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.