Campaign FAQs


What is driving the decision to build a new facility?

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.


What is the cost of the project?

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.


Have you applied to the Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce Community Appeals?

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


When will you break ground?

That depends of course upon the success of the campaign, and the resulting cash flow. We would like to break ground in Spring 2019.


How can I support the campaign?

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 ~ 210 N Sherman Ave. ~Sioux Falls,SD 57103

  • The pledge period is 'up to' five years
  • Most people choose a monthly plan.
  • We would be happy to visit with you about a gift of stock or gifts from retirement accounts. Contact Joe, Finance Manager, or 605-274-2296.

Is there really that much demand in Sioux Falls? And more expected?

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.


What makes the program successful?

Accountability. As one example, let's look at the work release program.

  • In the St. Francis House work-release program, guests have two weeks to find a job or go back to prison.
  • Their stay at St. Francis House relieves pressure on the prisons, and begins a reintegration process into society.
  • After guests find a job, they are only allowed to go to work, treatment or medical appointments.
  • Paychecks are held by SFH in an account set up for each guest.
  • From that account, guests must develop a budget and pay back debts to society.
  • Also, there is a target savings goal of $2,500 so that when guests leave St. Francis House they have money for an apartment security deposit, first month's rent, and basic needs.

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.


What are the benefits of transitional housing to the taxpayer?

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.


Do all guests work?

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.


Do all guests pay to stay at St. Francis House?

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.


Are you affiliated with the church community?

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.


Are gifts to St. Francis House tax deductible?

St. Francis House is an independent 501 c3 organization. As such, gifts are tax-deductible as provided by law.


There are a number of charities in town that serve the homeless. Is there overlap in the services offered?

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:

  • Emergency housing is typically 60 days or less. These organizations accept all in need, including people still trapped by substance abuse or other issues.
  • Transitional housing is typically 60 days or more, and can be as long as a year. The goal of transitional housing is to give people the skills, responsibility and savings needed to permanently leave the ranks of the homeless.
  • Low-Income housing is long-term permanent housing for those unable to afford a market-rate apartment.

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.


What is the difference between the services offered by Bishop Dudley House and St. Francis House? Why didn't St. Francis merge with Bishop Dudley?

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.


What makes St. Francis House unique?

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.

  • Zero tolerance of alcohol, drugs and gambling.
  • Our guests are required to work, make payments on debt, child support or court-ordered restitution.
  • Because they pay a modest fee to stay at the house, guests learn to budget for rent.
  • Guest save money so that they have a 'starter fund' when they leave St. Francis House.

St. Francis House is not a handout. It's a challenging hand up.


Tell me about the people you serve.

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


Tell me about the current accommodations.

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.


Tell me about the number of people you house.

Single Men and Women

Men. We have the capacity to house 34 men.

  • 22 in the basement of the main house
  • 9 in the Sherman House
  • 3 in the Yellow House

Women. We have maximum capacity for 45 women.

  • 20 live in the main house upstairs (double occupancy)
  • 10 are bunked in 20' by 15; room on the main floor, which served as the former convent chapel.
  • 12 live in the Dudley Duplex.
  • 3 live in the Tan House.

Families with Children

  • The Tri-Plex is located only a few blocks away form our main shelter. It houses up to three families with children.
  • The Quad houses another three families, with the fourth unit now serving as offices.

Contact Us

210 N Sherman Ave, Sioux Falls, SD 57103


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Our Mission

The St. Francis House: An Ecumenical Ministry, Moving People from Homelessness to Hope!


We are open 24 hours a day:
Donations accepted from 8am-8pm daily