Archive | January, 2012

Getting closer to being done

A couple of milestones around The Lighthouse.

  • The east tower at The Lighthouse is going to be open in June.  It will include 58 new affordable living apartments, a new kitchen, common area, and a deck area between the new tower.  Along with some other staff we got a tour of the building a couple of weeks ago and it is going to look fantastic.  They are working on a demonstration suite right now so in a couple of weeks from now we expect to have some photos and video to show you.
  • The Empire Hotel/west tower is getting some upgrades as well.  The mental health rooms are moving along smoothly.  Each room is being gutted and completely refurbished with new bathrooms, flooring, and wall coverings (there were layers of wallpaper up in some rooms).  The carpet in the hallways and rooms has been removed and will be replaced by a great looking laminate.

The goal is that over the next couple of years each of the 64 rooms in west tower of The Lighthouse will be given an overhaul.  We have 9 under renovations now which means we have 55 to go.  

Why do projects like this matter?  They make a big difference in the lives of the residents who are living here.  We have found that the living conditions of many of our residents were so poor before they came to The Lighthouse, they would actually access emergency shelter services on weekends because a mat on the floor was an upgrade over the places where they lived before.  While some of us get away to the lake or to Calgary for a weekend, life is so hard that a stay at a shelter was a way to help them cope.  When residents move into a suite that we have know, while it may have aged, the idea of home is so big for them that they can barely contain themselves.  Last week my wife and I were looking at some work that needed to be done when we ran into a resident who had just moved in.  When I asked her how it was going, she actually yelled at me in excitement.  Not only that but she realized she was talking really loud but noted that she was so happy, she couldn’t talk quieter.

We want to continue this as the norm and continue to invest into our residents and we can’t do that without your support.  Room renovations cost around $15,000 per room and involve a new washroom, flooring, wheel chair accessible doors, and upgrades to the windows.  It’s a big undertaking but it’s an investment in giving some of Saskatoon’s most vulnerable people a place to call home.

2011 Emergency Shelter Statistics for The Lighthouse

  • In 2011 the Lighthouse provided 131 women and 217 men with emergency shelter.

2011 Emergency Shelter Statistics for The Lighthouse

  • There were 1149 stays in the women’s shelter and 2601 stays in the men’s.

2011 Emergency Shelter Statistics for The Lighthouse

  • Women stayed on average 9 nights and the men stayed 12 nights.

But in reality it seems that some people just need the shelter for 1 or 2 nights or the weekend, and some stay for quite a long time because they have no where else to go. They hope to move into one of our 68 apartments but there is such a large waitlist that we are not able to help everyone who needs a place. We often have a couple of people, usually men, who are going on into their second or third month in the shelter. One of our clients stayed over 100 days in the shelter last year.

  • Our shelter has a capacity of 17 women’s beds and 17 men’s beds but we are opening a new women’s shelter which will have 20 beds in it.

Some of our clients only stay once and some return multiple times in a single year. I’m sad when clients I have got to know well leave but happy for them that they have found a new home. I am especially sad when I see those people return once again to our shelter because their cheques didn’t come through on time, their accommodations were only temporary, they didn’t get along with their landlord, physical or mental health issues, addictions, or other issue arose forcing then back to our dormitories. It seems many of our clients just can’t find the type of housing that is appropriate for them.

Thank you for your support in 2011 and your continued support in 2012. So much is going to happen this year at the Lighthouse it is truly unbelievable and slightly overwhelming. We are going to be doubling our affordable housing units in June, plus a new kitchen and dining room, employment office, nurses station, and new offices for the staff. Plus the new women’s shelter is slated to open soon, a designated mental health wing with emergency respite room and many other projects we are working on to help those in need in Saskatoon.

We are so excited to be able to provide more long-term housing for those people we meet in our shelters. They are the ones who need it the most.