JOURNEY ON! COMMENDED FOR HOMELESS OUTREACH EFFORTS
The Rapid City Council received a briefing on the homeless outreach efforts by Journey On! at last evening’s meeting.
Presenters included Police Chief Don Hedrick, Fire Chief Jason Culbertson, Rich Braunstein and staff members of Journey On! who provided details on work of the group. The group has responded to more than 1,700 calls of service since outreach efforts began in mid-December. The calls include outreach interactions, conducting follow ups and delivering human services to individuals.
After the briefing, Mayor Allender shared a letter of commendation to the group for their efforts and exceeding expectations just months since beginning their efforts.
LETTER OF COMMENDATION
Journey On!, a local non-profit organization focused on homeless street outreach, is directing community response efforts to homeless individuals. In November, the Rapid City Police Department and the City of Rapid City finalized a co-response contract with Journey On! to support the homeless population on non-violent calls for service.
Many of these interactions involve transporting homeless individuals to meetings with service partners, medical appointments, safe beds, or meeting with service organizations to work on ongoing care plans with clients. Other interactions consisted of simply making contact for follow-up or mentorship with individuals.
Journey On! staff members check various areas in the community where houseless individuals are known to congregate. They forge relationships, and through all of these efforts, are making a noticeable difference in our community.
The street outreach work performed by Journey On! consists of working all hours, day and night, and being out in harsh conditions. Their outreach work is engaging and has helped to reduce police and ambulance calls for service. We are proud of what they have accomplished in the short time they have dedicated to participating in the co-response effort in Rapid City.
Since December 14 through April 2, the staff at Journey On! have together responded to a total of 1701 calls for service that otherwise would have been answered by a police officer or firefighter. That is over 15 calls for service every day, for the past 111 days. These calls consist of outreach interactions, conducting follow-ups, and delivering human services to vulnerable individuals.
The success of Journey On! is first credited to a very active board of directors. The front-end work done by these directors before there were any boots on the ground, has been instrumental in setting the organization up for success, and would not have been possible without the work of Jamie Kirsch, Lance Lehman, Tracy Sigdestad, and Rich Braunstein. We would like to recognize their commitment and dedication to addressing homelessness and related issues in our community.
We would like to recognize these efforts of the board and all of the employees of Journey On! and promote their work moving forward. Journey On! is a wonderful example of what collaboration and coordination of resources can accomplish. The time, effort, patience, and compassion displayed by Journey On! is to be commended.