RAPID CITY, S.D. – A day center for houseless people in Rapid City says it’s closing its doors in December.
The announcement comes a month after the Rapid City Common Council denied the organization a permit to move the center from downtown to another location.
The Hope Center is a mission that said it serves anywhere from 200 to 300 people a day. The current space has a capacity of 62.
In August, the Methodist Church notified the mission it would renew their lease for one more year, with their rent more than doubling. Officials with the organization say they were not financially prepare for the increased cost.
“Some people just use us for a mail center. They come in. They need us five minutes. They’re in. They’re out. They go about their day. No big deal,” said Melanie Timm, the executive director of the Hope Center. “Other people, we’re their family. They’re here open to close. We’re a part of their every day. There’s all kinds of people in between. I don’t know. It’s bad situation.”
Over the last year, the Hope Center worked to move its operations to a larger facility in North Rapid. After neighborhood opposition, the Rapid City Common Council rejected the move 8 to 1.
Rapid City Jason Salamun says the city will feel the loss of the services provided, but the issues are bigger than just permits.
“There’s a misconception that it’s somehow my fault. It’s not,” Salamun said. “I’m bummed for them. I think there are good people that have been on staff there—that have volunteered there. My wife was on staff there. We know a lot of the folks. I think they’ve been doing important work for a long time.”