We plan to build a new facility at our current location. Two factors drove that decision.
First, we need more housing. The new 2-story facility will provide 60 double-occupancy rooms for singles, with 30 rooms in the men's wing and 30 rooms in the women's wing.
Second, the existing space is not suitable for mere renovation. As it currently exists, the floor plan forces us to put the laundry in the kitchen, the reception and weds area in a narrow hallway, ect. We have gratefully made do for many years, but the existing house was designed to house 12 nuns, not the number of people we currently need to serve.
The new facility is designed around not just housing, but programming, with the space for case workers and consultations. Finally, modern construction will be more cost-effective per square foot to heat and maintain, and we will bring our facility in line with modern safety codes.
With furniture, fixtures and equipment, the construction estimate is currently $5.5M. We continue to refine the plan, looking for ways to lower the cost-perhaps through contributed services.
We have prepared an application and will submit it by the July, 30 2018 due date. Please note that if selected in the first round, St. Francis House would not receive funding through the Community Appeals Program until 2021
That depends of course upon the success of the campaign, and the resulting cash flow. We would like to break ground in Spring 2019.
To make a single gift or recurring pledge, use our online pledge form. After you submit the form we will mail you an acknowledgment letter and return envelope.
You can also print out the form here and mail it to: Julie Becker, Executive Director, St. Francis House ~ 1301 East Austin ~Sioux Falls,SD 57103
Yes. Every January South Dakota Housing for the Homeless does a count of homeless in Sioux Falls. The count increased from 955 in 2017 to 1,159 in 2018. Nearly a fifth are children.
Much of the demand has its roots in the meth and drug crisis which puts housing pressure on prisons and jails. Case in point: the state prison in Pierre is considering triple bunking, and there is talk of a new jail in Sioux Falls. The overcrowding puts pressure on state and local facilities to explore alternate work-release options.
The people who come to us have a variety of backgrounds, and St. Francis House embraces a non-discriminatory policy. However, St. Francis House needs to acknowledge its programming and security limitations. As such, we cannot accept sex offenders charged or convicted, or violent offenders.
Accountability. As one example, let's look at the work release program.
Work release ranges from 90 days to a year. It's a transition period with a bit of freedom and the kind of supervision one might find in a loving parent.
Transitional housing reduces prison overpopulation and the burden born by taxpayers.
For example, the state subsidizes women on work release $7 per day, and each guest pays $15 a day from their own earnings to cover housing, food, personal care items and supervision. In contrast, the cost to incarcerate that same person ranges from $50 to $70 per day.
In addition to dramatically lowering the cost to the state, last year our guests paid over $120,000 to South Dakota counties in victim restitution.
We do not have a Department of Corrections work release program for men.
Yes. There are 72 local businesses that regularly employ our people. In our most recent fiscal year, 210 guests had full time jobs; of these 18 also took on a part time job.
Yes. As noted above, those on work release or parole are partially subsidized by the state. Others pay $5.75 a day for room, board, laundry and personal care items. Two-bedroom furnished apartments for families rent for $325, and include laundry, personal hygiene, clothing and food.
St. Francis House was founded as an ecumenical endeavor 31 years ago when the Catholic Diocese and First Lutheran Church came together.
On March 15, 1987, the doors were opened to the homeless. The late Bishop Paul dudley provided the land and building. First Lutheran Church, through Pastor David Holm, provided the funds to run the operation. Together, the two worked side-by-side to make the St. Francis House a reality.
St. Francis House has grown in both size and self-sufficiency, acquiring adjacent land over the years. In order to build the size of facility needed, the city requires that all land parcels be held by a single entity. Recognizing that the ministry borne in cooperation was now ready to 'spread its wings,' Bishop Swain has agreed to donate the land and buildings from the Diocese of Sioux Falls to the St. Francis House Corporation. That consolidates the property needed to construct a building with a bigger footprint.
St. Francis House is an independent 501 c3 organization. As such, gifts are tax-deductible as provided by law.
Actually, very little. In February 2018, St. Francis House hosted a meeting of Sioux Falls service providers to clarify among ourselves each organization's specific mission. St. Francis House felt this was important lest we confuse donors about the role each organization plays in the community.
To understand the homeless issue, it's important to distinguish between different needs and different groups to be served.
The news fall into three general categories:
With in each of these general categories, there are certain groups with specific needs. For example, "Call to Freedom" provides emergency housing specifically for the victims of sex trafficking. Others provide housing for the chemically dependent or those trying to escape domestic abuse.
St. Francis House provides transitional housing. Our goal is to permanently move people out of the homeless population. This our motto, Homelessness to Hope.
Both the Bishop Dudley House and the Union Gospel Mission are emergency housing shelters. As such, they accept people of up to 60 days, regardless of sobriety or other issues.
St. Francis House is transitional housing the typical stay is from 60 days to as much as a year. Another distinction is our zero tolerance policy regarding drugs and alcohol. "For individuals coming from any kind of supervised setting, they need a zero tolerance place to stay," explains Julie Becker. "We test regularly for drugs and alcohol because sobriety is a central component of the program."
In short, each provider has policies and programs unique to its mission.
Our goal is to move people to self-sufficiency. To do that, we have developed a program with accountability and structure that is firm, fair and consistent.
St. Francis House is not a handout. It's a challenging hand up.
Our guests each have their own unique story. Typically, our guests face a series of events that lead to personal crisis: job loss, medical bills, divorce, lack of family support, etc. Others have been through the court system and are now working to make restitution. The commonality among all is a desire for a life different than the one they have lived.
For stories in our guests own words, see http://stfrancishouse.com/their-stories
The majority of men and women live in the main house. It was built in 1956 as a convent for 12 sisters. It now houses 22 men and 30 women.
Over the years, St. Francis House has been fortunate to obtain six other properties that are now occupied with guests. On January 30, 2018 we closed on another property, and have agreed to let the seller live there until such time as we were ready to build a new facility.
Single Men and Women
Men. We have the capacity to house 34 men.
Women. We have maximum capacity for 45 women.
Families with Children
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The St. Francis House: An Ecumenical Ministry, Moving People from Homelessness to Hope!
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