Mayor, civic leaders spend night with homeless

The 2nd annual "Night at the Mission" opens eyes to reality of homeless life

RAPID CITY, S.D. – Homeless, not hopeless. Those are the words printed outside the Cornerstone Rescue Mission, a facility that provides various services, including a shelter, to Rapid City’s homeless community.

Mayor Allender shares a meal with the homeless Thursday night

Thursday night, for the second time, city government and business leaders gathered to see the hope in the homeless. They spent a Night at the Mission, to experience life from the perspective of the homeless. They also got to see how homeless affects veterans, women, and children.

“It’s very easy to disconnect from [the homeless] issue,” said Rapid City Mayor Steve Allender. “It becomes more real and you see how human they are, which is a much different perspective than you get from driving past someone.”

Allender and others had dinner with the homeless guests at the Mission, and then they spent the night.

The experience shows these folks a different side of the homeless community. During last year’s inaugural Night at the Mission, Rapid City Police Chief Karl Jegeris saw a community that cares and has a willingness to help.

“I saw a gentleman that was here in a wheelchair, and he was unable to get from his chair to his bed,” said Jegeris. “And there were two gentlemen that knew him and they had a system in place. They went and they helped and they lifted him into bed.”

And even for people whose lives seem so far away from the homeless, the experience of the Night at the Mission can reveal that the homeless are more a part of the community than one might think.

“I got to hang out with some homeless individuals that their children- actually their grandchildren went to elementary school with my children,” remembered Jegeris. “It was just a reminder that this is all our community.”

By coming together as a community, these new guests at the Cornerstone Rescue Mission sought to see and bring out the hopefulness in the homeless.

If you would like to help the Cornerstone Rescue Mission in serving Rapid City’s homeless community, visit their website, www.cornerstonemission.org.

Categories: Local News, South Dakota News