RAPID CITY, SD – The Rapid City Police Department will enlist the help of volunteers to help deal with homeless calls. The Legal and Financial Committee cleared a deal between the city and The Volunteers of America.
After receiving de-escalation training and making contact with people, a group will take to the streets to help any citizen who seeks help.
A previous group called Journey On had members helping connect with homeless residents.
Police say they have seen positive results in having these volunteers on the streets, with calls related to the homeless down 16%.
“The police have noticed the change and the reaction has been very positive. They are developing a good working relationship with the non-profit organization Journey On, ”said Rapid City Mayor Steve Allender. “You know, it’s not like these aren’t bugs to fix in a new relationship, but it’s starting to be very productive and tells us we’re headed in the right direction.”
The VOA is one of four groups that will have a specific purpose in helping people get off the streets.
“Their role in this regard will be for the emergency housing component,” Allender added. “There will be emergency housing options for the homeless who are ready to serve. And what that means is homeless people who don’t want to be homeless. Who are trying to get out of homelessness.
The mayor’s goal is to reduce homeless calls to law enforcement by 50% by 2022.