Catholic Diocese proposed homeless shelter plan doesn't come wit - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Catholic Diocese proposed homeless shelter plan doesn't come without controversy

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Sioux Falls has several organizations aimed at helping the city's homeless population.

Right now that includes the Banquet, Union Gospel Mission and the Salvation Army Warming Center. But it's a new shelter proposed in that same neighborhood that has neighbors upset.

We spoke to Jerry Klein of the Catholic Diocese. He says 30 years is how long the current building has been downtown serving as The Good Shepherd. 

It's not handicap-accessible in some areas and has a roof that's in bad shape. He says it's here at 101 N. Indiana where the Catholic Diocese plans to open their center for the homeless.

"Our hope is that this building will in some ways enhance the services that are being provided and do it in a way that actually helps the neighborhood, not hurts it," said Klein.

But some nearby business owners are feeling like their neighborhood is being dumped on. They don't want any more centers opening that would attract more homeless to the area.

"It's become a glutton to the area. We all have on our doors of our businesses here that there are no public restrooms because you have these people coming in and loitering and that's the only way. We have to protect ourselves," said Dick Year, co-owner of Midstates Quality Imprinted Sportswear.

Year says he doesn't  think there needs to be a doubling up of services in a three-block area. The Catholic Diocese says this wouldn't duplicate anything that's already being done.

"It's not another place so much as some of the services that are being offered now like the temporary overnight shelter that the Salvation Army has, they will no longer do that service if we're able to offer overnight shelter. So in a sense it's not adding to, it's replacing what's there already," said Klein.

Year says he only expects the opening of the shelter to increase the number of loiterers in the area.

"As business owners, we've improved our properties and we have people that are afraid to come into here that look at it as they are coming into a bad area of town even though during the business hours it's not. At night, different story," said Year.

This is a Conditional Use Permit the Catholic Diocese is applying for to open the shelter. It goes to City Planning Commission on March 5. Klein says he hopes neighbors and business owners can in the long run be partners with the Diocese in making the whole neighborhood healthy.


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