New shelter is a success according to organizers
- Liam O’Connor | February 16, 2023
The Saskatoon Tribal Council’s (STC) newly opened homeless shelter, located at 415 Fairmont Drive, has been fully operational for a few days.
There were some concerns surrounding the new shelter, such as transportation and location — STC Chief Mark Arcand said that the new location has been a huge success since opening and reflected on what the last few days looked like.
“We have a lot of happier people; they actually now have their own space,” said Arcand. “So each area, we call them pods, have their own TV room, stuff like that. So now they get to relax in their own area, and be in a safe environment.”
Arcand said that the people staying at the shelter typically never had a safe environment to live in before and feel valued.
“When we look about why it’s important, the (purpose of the) investment is to actually have adequate, proper spacing for people to feel valued.”
“When they feel valued, they’re actually going to hopefully make some better decisions that we can support.”
STC was given $390,000 through a grant from the Saskatoon Housing Initiative Partnership (SHIP) and, while Arcand is grateful to have received that money, he indicated that they would need more funding to keep the facility running.
“That investment of 390,000, it would probably cover five weeks for us because we’re spending about 330,000 a month at our current location.”
An aspect of the funding agreement that Arcand wished he didn’t have to fulfill, is that it only allows the shelter to be open from 10 p.m. to 10 a.m.
“Kicking people out from a warm facility because of certain rules and regulations is not acceptable,” he said. “And we’ve got to change those rules and regulations to actually meet the need for people.”
SHIP’s communication coordinator, Brenna Sych, responded in an email and said that they are unable to provide comment on funding for the shelter in the future because the money is awarded through applications.
Arcand expressed how this facility is different than the regular warm-up shelter and that it would need more money to continue to support the quality of life for people they wish to provide. At the shelter, besides the 15 staff members, expenses include three meals a day, showers, laundry, and pods for privacy.
Colleen Taylor, a poverty advocate at the Regina Anti-Poverty Ministry, supported the idea of a more permanent location with resources and safety readily available compared to the warm-up locations.
“One of the difficulties for people who are living with homelessness is being able to get around to the various resources,” said Taylor. “So, everything under one roof makes a huge difference for people.”
At this point in time the shelter has reached its 106 maximum capacity for bed spots, but it still has enough space for an overflow area where people can keep warm and access resources at the shelter.