One person making a difference for Rapid City homeless

Encountering someone who is homeless can evoke all manner of reactions from people. Some will offer their spare change in the hopes of easing the person’s suffering. Some will avert their eyes and pretend the other doesn’t exist. After all, one nickname for the homeless is ‘the invisible people.’ Still others will hurl abuse, calling them names such as dirty, drunk or freeloader and telling them to get a job. The reaction that Roberta Harmon has is entirely different. When Harmon meets someone who is homeless she does what she can to help.


Harmon works with ‘Why Me,’ a nonprofit company founded eight years ago that provides a variety of services to Rapid City’s homeless community. Harmon has worked with friends, churches and other support organizations to do everything from build community gardens to serving biscuits and gravy every Sunday at the Boy’s Club Thrift Store. Her dedication to community service proves that she is energetic and passionate about what she does.

Harmon asks, ‘Why not you?’ The question is posed as a response to the nonprofit’s name, but also serves to highlight her views that helping those less fortunate is not only the right thing to do, but requires a community effort.


That sense of community service is not just limited to planting gardens or feeding the homeless. Housing is one of the many areas Harmon focuses her energy.


“I have had a tiny home burden on my heart for over 10 years,” Harmon said, “I believe that with permanent affordable housing we would have stability, we would have economic growth.”


This idea of providing stability is one that Harmon often brings up because she believes that once someone has experienced stability for a long enough period, they will continue to fight for it. To Harmon, stability about more than money. Rather, it is the key to helping.