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SF Planning Commission Will Vote Wed. On Shelter

March 5, 2014, 5:34 PM by Ben Dunsmoor

SF Planning Commission Will Vote Wed. On Shelter
SIOUX FALLS, SD -

The Sioux Falls Planning Commission will vote Wednesday night on a proposed homeless shelter in the Whittier neighborhood just east of downtown.

The Sioux Falls Catholic Diocese drew up the plans in an effort to offer more resources in an area of the city that already caters to those in need.

The Discount Merchandise Center owner Marian Rieffer is worried about the proposal.

"If they're going to let anybody come you're going to have more and worse (people)," Rieffer said.

Rieffer is talking about the Bishop Dudley Hospitality House that will serve as a shelter for the homeless.

The Sioux Falls Catholic Diocese unveiled plans last month for the shelter that will offer those in need a place to stay at night and provide services during the day.

Business owners like Rieffer have criticized the plan because they say the area already has a problem with drunken homeless transients wandering through the area and she thinks the shelter will make the situation even worse. It's why she hopes the Sioux Falls Planning Commission rejects the idea Wednesday night.

"When they hear everyone's concerns I would hope they open their eyes and I still say - they say they're within guidelines of the schools – we shouldn't put our kids in front of that danger," Rieffer said.

The shelter is more than 1,100 feet from Whittier Middle School which is within the approved range.

Matt Althoff with the Sioux Falls Catholic Diocese hopes the facility will actually improve the issues businesses currently experience with homeless in the neighborhood.

"We would hope that as disciples of Christ that they would be made to feel welcome instead of roaming the streets aimlessly, ill productively and frankly destructively to their own selves and they'd find safe haven," Althoff said.

Supporters say the facility fits in the neighborhood because it’s close to other services for the homeless. Althoff believes it’s an appropriate place for the Diocese to carry out its mission.

"I don't think it'd be responsible on anybody's part to sit here and say this will solve homelessness but our hope would be that it would make those who happen to be homeless feel better about going to a facility like this," Althoff said.

A facility that will now be considered by the Sioux Falls Planning Commission Wednesday night.

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