The deaths of two homeless people over the weekend has stirred controversy over pop-up warming shelters, and city officials are weighing in.
The Rapid City Police Department says RV Ministry has been inconsistently operating pop-up warming shelters over the past couple of months at various locations.
Rapid City Police Chief Karl Jegeris said at the pop-up shelter Friday night attendees continued drinking while they were there, and that led to problems.
Chief Jegeris said in a letter to the mayor that although the people who started the warming shelters have good intentions, they are actually doing more harm than good.
Chief of Police Karl Jegeris says, "And so what I mean by that is by giving a false sense of security that there will be someone to locate you and or shelter you every night when you don't have the resources or the physical location and the volunteers to actually provide that service on a consistent basis, I think that we're setting up the homeless population for failure."
Mayor Steve Allender said in statement today that he supports Chief Jegeris' approach to the pop-up shelters and that we should all continue to search for long-term solutions to address homelessness.
We reached out to Cathie Harris of the RV Ministry who was one of the driving forces behind the shelters.
She has not returned our phone calls.