Mayor Steve Allender introduces Co-Responder Plan

RAPID CITY, S.D. — Rapid City Mayor Steve Allender had a meeting on Monday with city and county leaders to discuss a new approach to combating homelessness.

The idea is called the Co-Responder Plan. Social workers, rather than law enforcement, would evaluate and assist with the needs of the homeless.

Mayor Allender says police officers currently handle nearly double the national and regional averages for service calls, with many of those calls addressing issues in the homeless population. The mayor says under the new plan, officers will be free to handle their regular calls while more qualified staff attend to the homeless.

“We take someone who doesn’t have something else to do, someone who this is their full-time job to care for these individuals; to identify the services that need to be put in place, the services maybe will alter or pull back on,” said Mayor Allender

The common council has already approved $295 thousand dollars in next year’s budget for case workers.

The mayor says the Co-Responder Plan would go in effect on January 1, 2022, but he hopes it’s ready to go sooner.

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