Volunteers of America, law enforcement to team up and help homeless

RAPID CITY, S.D. – The Rapid City Police Department will be getting volunteer help to help deal with calls regarding the homeless. The Legal and Finance Committee has authorized an agreement between the city and The Volunteers of America.

Rcpd Yo Program 2After receiving training in de-escalating situations and making contact with people, a group will take to the streets to assist any citizens looking for help.

A previous group called Journey On has had members out helping make contact with homeless residents.

Police say they’ve seen positive outcomes in having these volunteers out on the streets, with calls related to the homeless going down 16 percent.

“Law enforcement has noticed the change and the reaction has been very positive. They’re developing a good working relationship with the non-profit Journey On,” said Rapid City Mayor Steve Allender. “You know, not like their isn’t bugs to work out in any new relationship, but that’s starting out to be very productive and gives us the indication that we’re going in the right direction.”

The VOA is one of four groups that will have a specific purpose in helping get people off the street.

“Their role in this will be for the emergency housing component,” Allender added. “There will be some emergency housing opportunities for those homeless people who are service ready. And what that means is homeless people who do not want to be homeless. Who are trying to get out of homelessness.”

The mayor’s goal is to reduce homeless-related calls to law enforcement by 50 percent in 2022.

Categories: Local News