Whittier neighborhood, the city’s social services dumping area?


“We should help the less fortunate among us, but move them out of my neighborhood first.”

I have been kind of on the fence about the expansion of a DAYTIME homeless shelter. On one hand, it will be needed, after the Good Shepard & Salvation Army close, and it will probably help alleviate some of the problems in the Whittier neighborhood with panhandlers and harassing neighbors.

BUT, on the other hand, it just seems our city has a track record of ‘moving’ these kind of problematic services into the Whittier neighborhood instead spreading them throughout the city. This shelter could be in several locations, in fact, one business owner suggested putting it in the VACANT Cathedral school, too which the new Planning Commission chair Nick ‘Mr. Bossy Pants Interrupter Jerk boy’ Sershen said it was too close to Hawthorne elementary (which he really meant to say it was too close to the Cathedral and the Bishop’s residence. The irony is that Bishop Swain talks about the sacrifice the Whittier neighborhood should make to help the least amongst us in a letter to the editor, yet doesn’t suggest the shelter be in his neighborhood.) But;

Krista Baartman, a member of the Whittier Neighborhood Association, said one of her biggest concerns is the proposed shelter’s proximity to Whittier Middle School.

“This is 100 feet out of the boundary for the school,” she said. “Are we going to be looking at violent criminals or sex offenders? We don’t know.”

And as a FB Whittier neighborhood commenter pointed out;

As a neighborhood, we already go above and beyond to help the low income and homeless citizens of Sioux Falls. Our concern as homeowners, business owners and parents is that the proposed size of the facility is 3x larger than the current Good Shepherd location and that no stipulations have been placed on the facility to outline their policy on drug and alcohol use, violent criminals and/ or sex offenders. As residents of the neighborhood, we have every right to be concerned. This facility is 2 blocks from Whittier Middle School and across the street from a very popular public swimming pool. These facilities are not used only by our neighborhood, but by a large number of residents in the city of Sioux Falls.

I truly believe the Diocese’s heart is in the right place for wanting to help this sector of our community, but they really need to find a different place. I have suggested closer to the courthouse, community health center and jail would make the most sense right on Minnesota Avenue. I have a feeling there is a push from the Uptown developers to get that stuff out of that area though.


#1 Karma on 03.06.14 at 2:28 pm

I don’t know if I agree with the location, but if I were one of these neighbors or the SF School District, I would be demanding a safety and security plan for residents and children. Now I am not saying that problems always follow this population, however, I drive by the Good Shepherd Center pretty much daily and at least weekly, you can count on SF finest present for some reason or another.

#2 Dan Daily on 03.06.14 at 4:47 pm

The Catholic faith has been challenged as of late. At least they recognize there must be a separation of church and the state of the general population.

#3 Sy on 03.06.14 at 4:59 pm

I think most people miss the point of the issue. It’s not “if you build it, they will come” like many other projects are proposed and planned. This is more like “build it where your target market already is”.

The homeless are already in the neighborhood, and if you put this place further away they will not by nature be able to spend the time or bus fare to “commute” to it.

#4 l3wis on 03.06.14 at 9:07 pm

I struggle with this, and while I don’t defend Planning Commission members or councilors decisions much, I will say it would be a difficult one. As Sy has pointed out, it only makes sense to put it here, and he is right, but you also have to question the ‘piling on’ in the Whittier neighborhood. As a growing community and employment center, we must really start considering expanding these services to all parts of the community, not just Whittier.

#5 l3wis on 03.06.14 at 9:08 pm

As an example, my good friend Jesse Christen is playing a half a block from this proposed site tomorrow night. Yeah, let’s put a homeless shelter next to a Rock Club.

#6 rufusx on 03.06.14 at 9:53 pm

Embrace the diversity DL – embrace the diversity.

#7 Derby on 03.07.14 at 1:46 pm

It sounds like to me the Good Shepherd Center is trying to fix a problem and possibly eliminate some other problems that are already going on in this neighborhood. I am a true believer in the “housing first” model and what it has been able to do not only in our community, but nation wide. Now this isn’t necessary “housing first” but it gives someone a chance to put a roof over their head and think things through. Yes, some of this populous never get things turned around, but I believe it will truly help out many who are just needing a chance and a little support. I would also like to see our City take a proactive approach with this and help this place out by possibly assigning an officer to this location. The City seems to use the state statutes quite a bit to avoid a glaring problem in the heart of our City. They seem to think it is only a County problem and use this state statue as a “off the Hook” mentality when ever they can.

#8 Taxpayer-Voter on 03.08.14 at 10:12 am

The rebroadcast of the March 5th Planning Commission meeting was scheduled for 10:00 a.m. this morning on Citylink. It is now 10:10 and the rebroadcast has not begun.

Interesting how anything that is highly controversial either disappears or is delayed on both Citylink and on the City’s website!!!!!

So much for transparency.

#9 anominous on 03.08.14 at 11:50 am

Calling out the diocese as a bunch of NIMBY’s, haha!