Hope Center Director Says Homelessness in Rapid City Is Increasing
The director of a Rapid City poverty center says the overall state of homelessness West River is getting worse because there are fewer options.
Two low income housing facilities in Rapid City are getting demolished, leaving some people with nowhere to go.
The Colonial Motel and The Imperial Hotel were two affordable housing options in the beginning of 2016, but now both are gone.
Anna Quinn is the Executive Director at the Hope Center. It's a day center for individuals living in poverty and without housing.
Quinn says many of the non-profits in Rapid City that address homelessness have seen an increase in numbers since August.
“It’s one of those tricky situations, you know, because the hotels that are going down—they need to be torn down. But there’s these unintended consequences. There’s individuals living in them that have nowhere else to go, they don’t have anywhere that they can afford to go. So, while condemned and not very safe to live in, it’s still a detriment to those people living in them.”
Quinn says lack of affordable housing is only one of many facets that contribute to the homeless issue in Rapid City.
She says of the 147 people the Hope Center serves a day, roughly 44 percent are employed.
However, Quinn says they don’t make enough to get out from under poverty.
“We’re seeing people being underemployed—not a full time job, not enough hours, not enough pay. The unemployment is not necessarily the problem, it’s the under employment, having a job that pays minimum wage. In Rapid City—it takes—a one bedroom apartment takes $600 a month, and if you’re making minimum wage, you can barely afford a one-bedroom apartment if you can even find that.”
Earlier in the year, the city of Rapid City appropriated $250-thousand to the Cornerstone Rescue Mission to shore up funds the organization might not receive. Cornerstone is the city’s only homeless shelter.