Building careers one coffee at a time

Eye on KELOLAND

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KELO) — A coffee shop in Rapid City is hoping to change lives. Home Brew opened a few months ago as a public business that represents some of the residents at One Heart facilities, which provides transitional housing for the homeless.

Summer Wilson owned a bakery just a year ago. But because of the COVID-19 pandemic, she lost everything.

“And so I came back to Rapid, I was staying with friends,” Summer said.

Summer then joined the OneHeart family. When Home Brew opened up, she jumped on the opportunity.

“I absolutely love doing this. When I had my shop it was just me. I’m used to having a shop be my baby and here it’s coffee, it’s goodies, it’s food, it’s everything that I love doing so I couldn’t ask for more,” Summer said.

Summer currently manages Home Brew.

Not only is the shop serving up coffee and goodies, but also career opportunities.

“It’s teaching everybody a new life, a new method of choices, behaviors, work ethic, the whole nine yards,” Summer said.

Just like any other job, Summer interviewed for the position.

“We treat them like we would any other prospective employee. It’s building job skills it’s making them feel comfortable with interviewing because some of them might not have interview skills so it kind of gives them an idea of what they will be facing if they try to get jobs elsewhere,” Lucero said.

Nikki Lucero is the shop’s supervisor. She says the goal of Home Brew is not only to bring job experience to the residents at OneHeart but to also be a public space where the residents can interact with people in the community.

“When they think homeless, they think people living out on the street, people just sitting out on the sidewalk with nowhere to go. But there’s a lot more to it than that. It’s important for people to see that at OneHeart we are trying to make a difference and build the lives of those that are homeless right now,” Lucero said.

All the proceeds that Home Brew makes goes back to the OneHeart organization.

OneHeart’s mission is to create pathways out of poverty for those desiring to thrive which reflects that of the coffee shop.

Executive Director of OneHeart, Charity Doyle, says everyone deals with poverty differently, each facing different challenges when trying to get back on their feet.

“We are trying to help them get over these barriers and build the foundation for a new future, or at least the platform from which to spring to a new future from,” Doyle said.

Home Brew opened just three months ago, but Doyle has high hopes for the future.

“We do work heavily with the employers, we want this to be a workforce concept unlike any other so we do have high hopes for this,” Doyle said.

“I want to see this shop work, it’s a great shop with great people. Not everyone is the normal homeless individual that you see on the street, we’ve got a different face,” Summer said.

One Heart is a new facility in Rapid City designed to get people who are homeless back on their feet. The entire campus can hold up to 53 men and women and about 36 families.

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