A Sioux Falls transitional shelter is one step closer to its new home. On Tuesday, demolition crews are tearing down five houses that are part of the St. Francis House. Eventually, the organization, which helps homeless people, will build a new $5.5 million facility for people in the community who need help. In just under two hours, a demo crew tore down pieces of the past.
“It’s pretty surreal knowing that this is something our board and the staff and the guests have been working on for the last four years,” executive director Julie Becker said.
Clearing five houses owned by the St. Francis House will make room for a new 120-bed facility. Crews will also eventually demolish the current main building and begin construction on the new place in May.
“We’re working on making more homes for more people who want to begin a new life,” Becker said.
“This is awesome. This is a new beginning,” guest Kristyna Dishman said.
The St. Francis House is Dishman’s home right now.
“I don’t know what I would do if this place wasn’t here,” Dishman said.
Even though this place is going away, Dishman says what’s coming to the same site will give the guests an even stronger foundation.
“It’s going to open the opportunity for more people in the community that’s asking for help and more bed space,” Dishman said.
Becker says Habitat for Humanity and the Furniture Mission reclaimed what they wanted from the old houses. She says before crews tore them down, the SWAT team, Bomb Squad and Sioux Falls Fire Rescue used the homes for training.
The new St. Francis House should be complete by summer 2020. Becker says tearing down the past is bittersweet, but it’s worth it because it’s going to help so many more people pick up the pieces and rebuild their lives.
“We always want to take our legacy that was created so many years ago with us into our new building so we don’t forget where we come from,” Becker said.