I mentioned in my last post about the distinct types of homelessness on the reservation. Homelessness looks different on the reservation than anywhere else. We do work with some partners in Rapid City to address the typical city homelessness.
One of the biggest barriers for the tribal members is racism. The tribal members are automatically looked down upon simply for being native. If you do not believe it is still happening today google Grand Gateway Hotel in Rapid City.
In working with some of our partners they have asked the city for permission to establish a new shelter specifically for the native people and the requirements that they must meet are stricter than the existing shelters.
With the grant we run into other issues. Sometimes the lack of trust is from the native side of the equation. They simply do not trust the white social workers enough to be open and honest with them. This is one of the places we come into the equation. Most of our contact with the clients we deal with is with our native staff. They understand and often know the people we are trying to help. The guests are more comfortable working with fellow natives. I have tried to reduce my role to more behind the scenes work.
I am blessed to have an outstanding crew working with me on the Job Corp and on the grants. If you would like to support the Job Corp, you may do so at: https://www.pineridgereconciliationcenter.org/donate.html
We are working on some exciting innovative ideas to address homelessness. We hope to be able to announce some new initiatives soon. In the meantime, we have guests showering at the center, we are making sandwiches with chips, we are providing coffee and laundry. We are giving people respect and dignity.
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