Conversation around homelessness sparks behind Journey Museum

Published: Sep. 18, 2020 at 7:20 PM CDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - Volunteers and activists gathered behind the Journey Museum Friday afternoon in hopes to spark tough conversations about homelessness in the Rapid City community.

Partners Monique Musseau and Felipa Deleon patrol the streets of Rapid City at night to make sure the homeless community is safe. The community thinks of the space behind the Journey as a secure spot as it’s next to a well-traveled road and far enough from Rapid Creek that they don’t have to worry about flooding.

This Friday morning, Musseau and Deleon were tipped off that the Rapid City Police Department was supposedly going to dismantle the camp behind the museum at two this afternoon.

In response, groups including Journey On, Great Plains Tribal CChairman’sHealth Board, RV Ministry, Hope Center, Cornerstone Rescue Mission, and the Woyatan Church were invited but couldn’t make it. They all gathered at the space to have conversations with the police about addressing the community’s needs.

“There’s all these organizations and none of them are working. If they were working, we wouldn’t have this problem. So there something that’s not going right,” says Deleon.

Ultimately, the camp was not moved, but Musseau and Deleon say they are going to start patrolling during the day to make sure the community is safe. While there, officers say they met with some of the people living there, helping connect them with vital services in the community.

The police say they were able to do the following in the two hours they were there:

  1. We helped make an appointment for someone to speak with a case manager to get on Coordinated Entry for Rapid Rehousing support.
  2. We connected someone grieving from losing a family member to suicide to the GPTCHB LOSS support (we prayed with her and burned sweetgrass).
  3. We helped someone connect with dental support at GPTCHB.
  4. We helped connect someone with personal hygiene items.
  5. We connected with people and heard their stories and offered mentorship to roughly 20-25 people.

Some of the groups involved want to meet with Mayor Steve Allender to discuss their concerns.

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