Frequently Asked Questions
How did Journey On start?
Founder, Tracy Sigdestad had been facilitating wilderness therapy, substance abuse/recovery, suicide prevention and other programs for at-risk populations as an independent contractor or volunteer for other organizations for many years. In June 2018, after assisting with Lakota suicide prevention program, Wiconi Wakan (Life is Sacred), a prayer and intention was put forth to become a non-profit organization in order to make a bigger impact, thus, Journey On was born, becoming the first Wilderness Therapy program in the state of South Dakota.
As Journey On collaborated with other organizations in Rapid City, it became apparent that one of the most at-risk populations in the community were our unsheltered or at-risk of becoming unsheltered community members. This was also the time period when the Covid 19 Pandemic was in full force, which put a hold on many of the original programs Journey On had been facilitating. It was at this point that Journey On turned it’s focus to providing street outreach services to the unsheltered population and at-risk of becoming unsheltered of Rapid City. In July 2020, the Street Team Outreach Program was launched.
How did the Street Outreach Program start?
The Street Outreach Program was born out of the Collective Healing Initiative (CHI) in 2018, when Aqeela Sherrills of the Newark Community Street Team (NCST) came to Rapid City to share a model of community-initiated public safety with the Rapid City CHI working group. That model is based on the work of credible messengers from the community meeting people where they are and building relationships of trust and mutual respect. The goal of this street outreach effort is to support individuals' interest in accepting further services to achieve violence reduction, permanent shelter, and self-sufficiency. With technical assistance and leadership from Aqeela Sherrills, members of the CHI working group reached out to Journey On to serve as the community nonprofit organization dedicated to providing this type of outreach. Journey On agreed to help meet the needs of the unsheltered in Rapid City by initiating Street Outreach Program, creating a grassroots effort to serve the community.
What is the Street Outreach Program program mission?
To support vulnerable individuals experiencing or likely to experience houselessness in Rapid City, South Dakota though collaborative street outreach, case management, and culturally responsive programming.
What does Street Outreach Program do?
The Street Outreach Program identifies and engages people living in unsheltered locations, such as in cars, parks, abandoned buildings, encampments, and on the streets. The Street Outreach Team members, individually and collectively, reach people who might not otherwise seek assistance or come to the attention of the homelessness service system and ensures that people’s basic needs are met while supporting them along pathways toward housing stability. Each Street Outreach Specialist is responsible for conducting outreach, providing information and referrals, completing assessments, intakes, performing short-term case management, and providing concrete services.
How is Street Outreach Program Funded?
The Street Outreach Program has been supported by a variety of public and private funders dedicated to advancing the Street Outreach Program mission. Public funding has come from the federal department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) through an Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) provided by the CARES Act. Private funding has been received from the South Dakota Community Foundation, Black Hills Area Community Foundation, Equal Justice USA, Walmart, and a number of contributions from individuals in the community.
How is this different from other programs serving the unsheltered population in Rapid City?
Street Outreach Program operates with a range of community partners as an alternative to relying on law enforcement to respond to individuals and populations at risk of homelessness, substance abuse, and crime victimization in Rapid City. Our work with community partners, including public safety agencies and private nonprofit organizations, is dedicated to first reducing and then removing law enforcement involvement in calls for service from the community to address emergent needs. Beyond responding to calls for service, Street Outreach Program is dedicated to assessing ongoing needs, distributing necessities for life on the street and facilitating referrals to community partners who work to provide medical and recovery resources to the unsheltered community. Our Street Outreach Program is autonomous from other programs, public and private, engaged in responses to meet the human service needs of the unsheltered community.