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Shelter Introduces Pay-For-Stay Program

Bishop Dudley Hospitality House

A Sioux Falls emergency shelter is implementing a pay-for-stay program for some guests. The Bishop Dudley Hospitality House offers lodging for the homeless and vulnerable. The new system is part of a focus on supporting people who need temporary assistance.

Starting May 2nd, people who work but don’t have homes receive 30 days lodging at the Bishop Dudley Hospitality House for free. After that, executive director Chad Campbell says they’ll have to pay.

"We’ve talked with donors. We’ve talked with individuals in the community, and we’ve talked with our guests, because our guests also realize that, if you create an environment that’s too comfortable, that some guests may take that comfortability and extend that out for as long as they humanly possibly can instead of really grasping onto the resources that exist to pull themselves out of the poverty that they’re in," Campbell says.

For stays ranging from 31 to 60 days, guests pay $5 a night. After that, a graduated scale increases every month until each night costs $10. Guests pay that for their fourth month at the shelter.

Campbell says The Bishop Dudley Hospitality House opened early in January of last year because it was vital to the community. No other provider could house people in the bitter cold. Fifteen months later, Campbell says this is part of a shift to permanent programming.

"Some guests may take that comfortability and extend that out for as long as they humanly possibly can," Chad Campbell, Executive Director

"But it’s providing that transition time for them to have a place where they know they can be safe and secure every single night but with the end goal being, after 120 days of working with our resource advocates and other individuals in the communities that we partner with, that they’ll be able to go out and branch out on their own and get their own apartment and secure their own lodging," Campbell says.

Campbell says people who stay at the shelter receive a secure locker. He says money from the program contributes to everyday operations at the Bishop Dudley Hospitality House.

Another program seeks to support people who are homeless and jobless. The parameters are different for people who don't have income.

"The first 30 nights will be free, but during those 30 nights they’ll be required to participate in upkeep at the facilities, so, for lack of a better word, have chores that they’ll work with us on to help keep the facility beautified and looking nice," Campbell says. "And then they’ll be required to meet with our resource advocates to really create a trackable plan for themselves on how we can work with them on getting them out of the current circumstances that they’re in."

The Bishop Dudley House isn’t the only shelter that charges a small lodging fee. Cornerstone Rescue Mission in Rapid City has a similar policy called the Fair Share program. Executive Director Lysa Allison says guests receive the first seven nights free; after that they pay $7 per day except Sundays and holidays. People who don’t have income help at the facility. The Cornerstone also helps people achieve housing, finance, and personal goals.

Allison says the program has been part of Cornerstone Rescue Mission for nearly a decade. She says the money is pooled and used to purchase documents for guests or to buy basics people need when they start jobs.

Kealey Bultena grew up in South Dakota, where her grandparents took advantage of the state’s agriculture at nap time, tricking her into car rides to “go see cows.” Rarely did she stay awake long enough to see the livestock, but now she writes stories about the animals – and the legislature and education and much more. Kealey worked in television for four years while attending the University of South Dakota. She started interning with South Dakota Public Broadcasting in September 2010 and accepted a position with television in 2011. Now Kealey is the radio news producer stationed in Sioux Falls. As a multi-media journalist, Kealey prides herself on the diversity of the stories she tells and the impact her work has on people across the state. Kealey is always searching for new ideas. Let her know of a great story! Find her on Facebook and twitter (@KealeySDPB).
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