Entries Tagged 'Homeless' ↓

Consequences of the Dudley House zoning decision

The Sioux Falls city council had a discussion today during the informational about what to do with the problem at Heritage Park. I have no idea of what a solution would look like, it’s like whack a mole. But I do see how this came about.

• Concentrating all the poor and homeless services into one neighborhood (deciding to put the Bishop Dudley house next to the Banquet).

• Allowing alcohol in some parks but not in others (eliminate it in all parks).

• Lots of poor and impoverished people in Sioux Falls (crap wages).

The city council isn’t going to solve this problem overnight, but first they have to look at the symptoms of the disease and realize where they messed up, then correct the bad decisions that were made in the past.

I may be a ‘Hard Ass’ but at least I am not a ‘Dumb Ass’

Nothing like being scolded for using the word ‘ass’ by the guy who is rumored to drop the F-Bomb quite frequently to whoever is in the room. As for a grammar reference, the term ‘Hard Ass’ refers to a stubborn mule, you know, the mascot of the party you belong to, Mike? The F-word refers to sex. So Mike, I think the people of Sioux Falls would appreciate you refrain from using the word from now on.

Paul Dudley house meeting

Proverbs 21:13 Whoever closes his ear to the cry of the poor will himself call out and not be answered.

Psalm 106:3 Blessed are they who observe justice, who do righteousness at all times!

At the last minute, I decided to show up to this meeting. It was a packed house and held in the room where the men normally sleep.

I chose two biblical verses to start out this post, one about helping the less fortunate and one about fairness, because they both apply.

Did I go into the meeting with an open mind? That’s hard to say, but I left with some clarity.

The meeting started with the director, Chad Campbell explaining all the good things the house has done since it has opened in January. And those accomplishments took him almost 40 minutes to lay out, and they are great.

As the public began to ask questions, the lights went out (power outage) but the meeting continued. Several people commented on the great things they are doing, and several neighbors commented on improvements that could be made.

I commented that there is NO DOUBT the facility is needed, and doing good things. But I questioned the process in which the location was selected. Mr. Campbell did a fantastic job of explaining all the other services in the area as for picking the location, as did City Councilor Kenny Anderson. But I was disappointed that Mr. Campbell commented that those decisions were made before he came aboard. While that is true, I suggest that Chad studies those discussions and educates himself in what happened in the past. They will be very useful to him in the future. History teaches us to not repeat mistakes . . . most of the time.

I also commented that many who were in the room tonight, including staff, would probably be uncomfortable having this shelter in their neighborhood, I even suggested having it next to the Bishop’s home. I mentioned that I watched the Safe Home discussions very closely, and felt that it’s location choice was well thought out, and that has proven to be so.

Remember, my main reason to comment tonight was not about the mission of the house, but the process that was performed to pick the location.

It’s no different then the Hotel sized home being built in McKennan Park, or the Walmart in the SON neighborhood. Neighbors and citizens must be listened to when zoning decisions are made. Period. It is beginning to sound like a broken record and a dysfunctional turn table.

I personally believe in the long run, the house will actually improve the neighborhood, but I will also warn people, it’s going to be a rough first year, including this summer.

At the end of the day, we need to use this house as an example of how feelings and relationships get burnt when we don’t listen to all sides. That is why I spoke up tonight. The downtrodden and the property owner all breath and share the same air, we are all brothers and sisters.

BTW, would like to commend all the Police Officers, including Mr. Larson for attending tonight. Would also like to thank local leaders and lawmakers Kenny Anderson, Michelle Erpenbach, Darrin Smith and Pat Kirshman for attending tonight, and anyone I might have missed. True leadership comes from courage and the willingness to listen and participate in a community discussion.



Residents of Whittier Neighborhood ‘Warned’ of the problems



And what is the SFPD, Dudley House and city government doing about it?

The Sioux Falls Police Department told Buehner and other business owners to put up no loitering and no trespassing signs to keep people out but many owners are concerned that signage would only make customers uncomfortable and ultimately hurt their business further. So what’s causing the spike in drunken trespassing? Buehner and others say these incidents have been on the rise ever since the Bishop Dudley Hospitality House opened up next door. The reason? Their “no questions asked” policy.

Was their a need for a shelter of this kind? Most definitely! The problem is the location. The shelter should have been closer to the Jail and Safe House, and closer to Minnesota Avenue, instead of being plopped in the middle of a neighborhood.

The Whittier neighborhood residents warned of the problems before ground was even broke, and the city council and Catholic Diocese ignored the warnings. The residents asked for a plan to deal with the potential problems, and were given nothing.

So what is the plan?

It’s too late to move the shelter now, but the residents at least deserve a plan to help patrol the neighborhood, because saying this, just doesn’t cut it;

Campbell says his staff does all they can to help change their guest’s behavior, but once they leave the center they are out of his control. That being said, if the problem persists Campbell says he is more than willing to work on a solution that makes everyone happy.

The ‘solution’ should have been in place before you even opened the doors. But once again, we are using Whittier Neighborhood for the dumping grounds of our social ills so the elite can live in peace in their tax subsidized condos downtown.

Melanie Bliss receives recognition, then tells it like it is.

Melanie Bliss has earned our admiration for her many years being involved in everything she has touched. Melanie does not just join an organization, she becomes the driving force.

Thank you Melanie!

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.

With low unemployment comes more homeless

Sioux Falls/Minnehaha county saw an almost 30% increase in homeless in one year;

In South Dakota, more than 1,100 people don’t have a place to call home, and over half of them live in Sioux Falls. Monday, the results of the one day homeless count in Sioux Falls were released.

“We had 618 homeless, and 218 of them were children,” Maria Krell, Executive Director of Good Shepard Center said.

In 2012, the homeless in Sioux Falls totaled 435 people.

Krell said, “It’s really a lack of affordable housing.”

Stacey Tieszen, who serves on the Sioux Falls Homeless Advisory Board, agrees. She said Sioux Falls did a study in 2010 that showed the city was 1,000 affordable housing units short, and we would need to build 250 units each year from there on to keep up with the growth of the city and the wages being paid.

“We’re not building that, we aren’t even remotely keeping pace with that, so we are behind the eight ball already,” Tieszen.

Tieszen said in order to afford a two bedroom apartment that costs around $800 a month, a person would have to make $14.61 an hour.

In Minnehaha County, for 44 percent of people surveyed in this count, this was their first time being homeless.

We have a combination of low unemployment, and the jobs that do exist are low paying, forcing many to have multiple jobs. Pile on the constant property tax increases, rate increases for utilities and the lack of affordable housing and what happens? People are forced to hit the streets. What’s even more scary is the amount of people who are ‘borderline’ homeless, and teetering on the edge.

There are things ‘Businesses’ can do;

– Pay workers more, but hire quality employees and train them well so you don’t have to have as many. It will balance out in the end.

There are things ‘Government’ can do;

– ONLY award TIF’s to affordable housing projects.

– REVOKE all other TIF’s that have nothing to do with affordable housing, and start charging them the proper property taxes.

– Reduce property taxes for individual property owners, especially those on fixed incomes.

– REVOKE the food tax, for everyone! Or on at least raw & fresh foods.

– Implement a corporate income tax

These constant tax breaks to those who can afford to pay the most in taxes has to end. We need to take the burden off those who can least afford it. Sadly, as Janoct Adja pointed out when running for mayor the first time, ‘even the homeless in our community have to pay taxes.’

This culture of working the poor to death without providing them affordable housing has to end. But the culture of handouts to the special interests at city hall has to end also to make this work. Once city hall has done everything it possibly can to make it more appealing for contractors to build enough affordable housing in our community, then, and only then, can we start talking about hotels on public golf courses, pickleball courts, and private indoor tennis courts for the mayor and his buddies.


Is there really a difference between peddlers and panhandlers?

Just another panhandler?

Cory Madville had a great post today about freedom of speech, getting a job, and panhandlers in Sioux Falls. They have turned it up a notch over the past few years, and one of their favorite spots is the off ramp of I-29 and Louise, which I have to go thru on occasion.

They have various signs they hold (always on cardboard, not white erase), I’m sure you have seen them. “God Bless” “I’m a Veteran” “I don’t know what a shower is or a job application”. One guy today had a cig hanging out of his mouth while taking money from a car. His sign should have said, “Almost out of cigs, out of beer, and out of luck, please give a f’ck!”

I don’t have a problem with giving to those in need, but seriously, if you have the energy to stand on a corner and ask for money, you have the energy to get a job, any job. Panhandlers in other parts of the world will clean your windshield for a buck.

Of course the good Christians of our society argue that a panhandler could be the 2nd coming of Christ, so we should give . . .


Yeah, and that lotto ticket I accidentally threw away 5 years ago was the $100 million dollar winner.

But, I ask a bigger question. What’s the difference between panhandlers and Girl Scouts standing on a street corner and peddling cookies? Seriously? I drove past the intersection of 12th and Kiwanis last year to see Girl Scouts lunging at cars. True, the Girl Scouts are actually selling something, but what if you don’t want cookies? I see no real difference between a panhandler holding a sign and a Girl Scout holding a sign on a street corner, they both have the right to be there, whether you like it or not, but someone should tell mayor Huether. He may know what what state he lives in, but he seems to struggle with the country;

“This is just not the way we do things in Sioux Falls or in South Dakota, it’s not reflective of our people and our values. We can’t allow this to happen on the street corners of our town.”

Maybe we should ban panhandlers from texting while panhandling to?

But Isn’t a FREE society great!? Where we can sell cookies and ask for cigarette money on a street corner. Gawd I love America. Land of the FREE, broke, and constantly annoyed.

A letter writer points out the ‘priorities’ of our city leaders

I think this letter speaks for itself;

I am pleased the residents of Minnehaha County will be offered the opportunity to vote on the proposed events center.

I met with Mayor Mike Huether along with a group of other people at the Whisk & Chop Cafe, on what happened to be his birthday, and brought up the subject of the mayor setting aside some money to help finance a home for the chronically homeless as he knows the county owns the land for the home, but the city needs to allot some money to help to support the facility.

The mayor’s reply to me was there were homeless children, too. I realize that. However, Matthew 25:40 says: “and the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, insomuch as you did to it one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.’ “

All Snark Aside…


The situation in Haiti is only going to get worse as time goes on. Respiratory illness and infection will kill more people in the coming weeks than the earthquake did.

Take a second away from drinking your morning starbucks & bottled water while reading this stupid blog on your fancy computer which runs on the electricity you take for granted, whip your phone out and text ‘HAITI’ to 90999. This will tack a much needed $10 onto your next wireless bill as a donation to the Red Cross.  You might have to share a meal next time you eat out at the Texas Roadhouse instead of getting your own texas toothpicks. But it will taste better, trust me.

That is all. Thank you.