May 08, 2020

Temporary Emergency Shelter Ready For Use



Temporary Facility Is Collaborative Effort Among Numerous Entities;

Will Provide Services To Homeless Clients Who Are Sick With No Options

RAPID CITY, SD--Rapid City's Emergency Shelter for sick homeless individuals is entering the operational phase and ready for use.

            The shelter, located in the Civic Center's Rushmore Hall, has been several weeks in the making and is a major collaborative effort among numerous community organizations.  The purpose of the 100-bed temporary shelter is to provide a clean, climate-controlled facility with provisions for personal hygiene and meals and support the recovery of homeless persons who are ill.

            "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."

            Contributing agencies to the emergency shelter include 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.

            Some temporary renovations have been made to the Civic Center's 40,000 square-foot Rushmore Hall to include shower facilities.  Civic Center food staff will prepare three meals each day, utilizing the Civic Center's kitchen facility to prepare box or bag style meals for the shelter's clients and staff.

            The facility will house clients who are ill and provide services both day and night until the individual has recovered from their illness, been observed for the requested length of time without developing signs and symptoms, or other long-term or more appropriate housing solutions are 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.

            Norma Rendon of Where All Women Are Honored will serve as the sheltering manager of the facility.

            The facility offers 100 beds, divided into varying levels of service.  Tents are set up at the Memorial Park band shell for staff to screen all clients for entry into the facility.  In some cases, a patient may be referred if they have been identified as being COVID-19 positive.  

            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 will be overseeing the medical needs of the shelter's clients.

            The Emergency Homeless Shelter is scheduled to provide care services until June 26.

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