Helping Keep The Homeless Warm

The Bishop Dudley Hospitality House had some help over the bitter cold weekend

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – When the weather was as cold as it was this weekend, we would assume it makes for a busy weekend at local homeless shelters.

But the Bishop Dudley Hospitality House in Sioux Falls says that wasn’t necessarily the case, and that’s a good thing.

“We [housed] about 65 men and 13 women, that’s about where we’ve been running average for the last three to four weeks,” says BDHH Executive Director Chad Campbell.

With the capability to house 80 men and 20 women, the shelter didn’t reach capacity over the weekend, even though outside temperatures were in the negative teens.

“During the holiday season which is forth coming this week, a lot of the people that we do serve do have families,” says Campbell. “So they do return back to their place of home to be with their families.”

Campbell says that doesn’t mean many weren’t glad to find some warmth.

“When we opened at 6:30 every night, we had a lot of individuals waiting outside because there are not a lot of places for these individuals to go during the early evening hours.”

But this past weekend, they had some help across town.

Celebrate Community Church opened up a temporary shelter.

“We just like to help everybody, that’s our goal – to help and be there for them through Christmas,” says volunteer Shelley Estenson.

This is why the church decided to keep the shelter open for one more week.

Along with providing a place to sleep and eat, the volunteers are playing games and spending time with their new guests.

“It eases a lot of anxiety,” says Estenson. “There’s a lot of nervousness and what-ifs with some of the people that are here, and that eases their minds.”

Campbell says it also eases his mind.

“For me, when there’s churches that open up shelters around us, that alleviates some of the pressure on us.”

Campbell says their main goal at the Bishop Dudley Hospitality House is to work with the people that come in helping them get a job and eventually their own home.

So far this year, they’ve transitioned 177 men and women back into the community.

So Campbell says the average numbers over the weekend is a good sign that their efforts are working.

As for Celebrate Community Church, they saw about two dozen people walk through their doors this weekend.

It’s the first time they’ve opened up a temporary shelter.

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