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Homeless battle with the elements, winter cold comes early

A man in the snowy weather
A man in the snowy weather(Jeffrey Lindblom)
Published: Oct. 12, 2021 at 7:05 PM CDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - When it’s snowy and cold, for some it makes for a great time to bundle up at home with family, watch a movie and have something warm to eat.

However, not everyone is so fortunate.

While some families get through the cold weather with a movie night, those who are homeless are out looking for a place to sleep.

“As soon as the weather starts to turn cold it usually catches people off guard,” says the Hope Center’s Executive Director, Melanie Timm.

“We curl up with a blanket and lay under a bridge or something,” says Adrian Black Wolf, a Rapid City homeless man.

“Today,” says Timm, “we will probably see a larger number of people here at the Hope Center, because of the weather being wet and cold. So, we have an influx of folks who are not prepared.”

“You could be sleeping outside. You could be over there. You could be anywhere, or just sit under a bridge where there’s no snow. Cause,” says Black Wolf, “I know mostly everybody in here, and we do the same thing.”

Timm adds, “We have some of our guests who have been homeless for quite some time, and so they definitely have some better survival skills than some of our other guests that maybe have just now found themselves under the circumstance where they’re homeless. They are completely unprepared for the cold weather.”

Most people don’t have the space to carry winter clothing in bags and backpacks through the summer, so Timm says, “we try to be prepared and help them out for when the weather turns.”

She says cold weather clothing isn’t something that is typically donated at the end of summer, but they’re in need of things like “coats, long johns, socks, mittens, hats... all of those cold weather items.”

A jacket can go a long way for helping those who are homeless, as many of those who used to come by the center for help have passed away this year already.

If you’d like to donate, Timm recommends doing so when the Hope Center opens. That way they have time to distribute it out to those who need it on the same day.

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