Children first: Homeless for the holidays - KOTA Territory News

Children first: Homeless for the holidays

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Countless children will find themselves homeless on Christmas day, including at least 500 in the Rapid City school district alone.

Some will live in shelters, motels, others will stay with friends.

One Rapid City family, who lost everything in a recent house fire, is now plotting their course through the difficult holiday season.  

"Sometimes I kind of joke with people when they call and say 'Hello, welcome to my circus, which ring do you want to sit at?'" said Cynthia Red Star, full time student and mother of four.

Red Star's sense of humor is remarkably in tact, mere weeks after a Rapid City apartment fire left her family with nothing but their lives and the clothes on their back.

"People ask me, 'Well you lost everything'. And I say 'No I didn't lose everything, I have everything. I have my kids, and myself and even our dogs'," said Red Star.

Now Red Star and her four children are making a temporary home in a local two bedroom motel room.

"They get frustrated sometimes, especially the younger ones. They're always on top of each other but they seem to adjust pretty well," said Red Star.

Red Star and her family are not alone in their situation. There are more than 122 Rapid City school district students who are living in motels. Almost 300 more are living with other families. 

"Rapid City has a real lack of affordable housing. Many families have to rent monthly or weekly at the motel. They move in with other families," said Anita Deranleau, Coordinator of the McKinney Vento Program, an outreach program which works with Rapid City School district children.

"We all have the potential- loss of job, loss of home-  to be in this situation," said Red Star.

A situation that likely means Red Star and the kids will spend Christmas in their motel.

"Just getting together with my family and celebrating Jesus' birthday," said Emma Red Star, a second grader at Canyon Lake Elementary school.

"Some children don't want anything because the reality is they know they won't get anything they really really want," said Deranleau.

Now living on a diet of donations and hope, Red Star hopes to continue her education and pray for a brighter future.

"Everyone in that building, we were all working to do something better with our lives. Now we're all up in the air," said Red Star.

The November 27th fire killed a grandmother and three children.
The Red Star family, as well as some of the other families who lived in the housing complex have funds set up at the Wells Fargo bank.

To donate, visit a Wells Fargo location and ask for the following funds: Red Star Family Fire Fund, Eagle Bull Family Fire Fund, Nelson Family Fire Fund.

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Rapid City, SD 57701

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