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Diocese plans homeless center in Sioux Falls

SIOUX FALLS (AP) — The Catholic Diocese of Sioux Falls plans to open a center for the homeless and the needy in South Dakota's largest city.

The diocese is buying an empty warehouse for $750,000 and planning upgrades that will run the project past $1 million. The 19,600-square-foot facility could open by next winter, if the city approves the project, according to Bishop Paul Swain.

"Our faith calls us to be especially attentive to the poor, the vulnerable and those in need," Swain said.

The facility would be named the Bishop Dudley Hospitality Center, in honor of the Rev. Paul Dudley, who was bishop in Sioux Falls from 1978 to 1995. It would offer meals, showers, laundry facilities, telephones and other services, and possibly overnight shelter. The warehouse is near several buildings with programs for the needy.

A one-day count in September found 618 homeless people in Sioux Falls, including 218 age 17 and under, Stacy Tieszen, coordinator of a local homeless advisory board, told the Argus Leader.

"In the grand scheme of things, this is the perfect solution to help people get back on their feet," she said.

The diocese will take comments from the public during a Feb. 20 meeting at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church.