Veterans groups look to Rapid City community for support - KOTA Territory News

Veterans groups look to Rapid City community for support

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Many are already doing what they can to help homeless veterans in KOTA Territory, like at the Cornerstone Rescue Mission in Rapid City.

Jeff Rauss moved in back in June, after he found himself with no place to go and no money.

"There's a lot of people here out of the cold.  They do a lot for the homeless and South Dakota's one of the best in the country as far as medical and dental," said Rauss, an Army veteran.

While Rauss was able to find the help he needed at the rescue mission, the Department of Veterans Affairs and other veterans organizations are still trying to assist the other homeless vets that are still out there.

"It takes a village and that's exactly right.  Opportunities like this morning to bring the community together to say, 'VA does not have all the answers.  Yes, we're in the business of treating veterans, but what we need are all of these ideas from the community,'" said Andrea Conti, the VA Black Hills Chief of Staff.

The focus at Friday's Homeless Veterans Summit at the Retired Enlisted Association facility was how community partnerships with veterans groups can help find shelter for those in need.

"Some private community partners have approached the VA and asked about what the housing is like for our veterans," said Linda Kinzler, the Health Care for Homeless Veterans Coordinator.

The VA says a property is already picked for developing 24 new, permanent, low-income apartments for the homeless in Rapid City, and Rauss says if it is anything like the mission, it will be a welcome addition to the community.

"It's a good outfit, a good thing they have going on here.  I'm getting dental work done and some other things and I really had nowhere else to go here," said Rauss.

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