Bishop Dudley Homeless Shelter Expecting Influx During Winter Months

SIOUX FALLS, S.D.- Homeless shelters say it’s a real-life tragedy that can be avoided, someone who lives out on the street freezing to death. As the winter season approaches, a Sioux Empire shelter is preparing for one of its busiest times of the year.

“Last night was pretty tough, it was actually our first night in a car,” says John King.

The seat of a car is a place that John King never thought would become his bed. He’s been homeless for the last couple years.

“Almost feels as if you have nobody around. Where it’s just you and your partner or yourself,” says King.

He’s found some comfort at the Bishop Dudley Hospitality House, where he often eats lunch. Many people in the shelter are in a similar situation.

“I was just like a lot of people, who thought people were homeless because of drugs or alcohol but I learned the hard way, no,” says Lauren Figueroa.

For two and a half months now, Bishop Dudley has become home to Lauren Figueroa, her husband, and their daughter. She says after she and her husband fell behind on payments, they lost their home but even in these trying times, she’s glad to have her loved ones.

“We are still a family, no matter where we are. We are what makes us a home,” says Figueroa.

As the weather starts to get colder, the shelter is expecting to see more people come in.

“As the winter season approaches, we do start to see an increase in our numbers,” says Bishop Dudley Hospitality House Executive Director, Chap Campbell. “We are already starting to see an increase in our numbers from the summer and fall months into today for example,”

Leaving staff members having to find more space in the shelter and resources to help those in need. The shelter says the issue of homelessness is something that isn’t going away.

“It’s a situation in our community, nonetheless that we have to identify and we have to work with our collaborative partners to meet those needs,” says Campbell. “So we can try to get those families placed,”

For Lauren and John being in this situation isn’t something they chose, but it is something they’re dealing with the best they can.

“I’m not ashamed that I am in a shelter, I am humbled, very humbled,” says Figueroa.

“There’s always a sense of hope,” says King.

The shelter says they need the community’s help in providing families with winter gear and basic hygiene products for the coming season. You can also go out to eat at Granite City on Wednesday, where 10 percent of the proceeds will be given to Bishop Dudley.