This has been a busy summer for all of the homeless shelters in Saskatoon and the Lighthouse has been no exception. We have seen record numbers of men and women come to our doors looking for a safe shelter and a place to call home.
To deal with this increased demand, The Lighthouse has added extra cots and mats to ensure that no one is turned away. We have also added addition staff to assist clients and we monitor the situation each afternoon and take immediate steps to make sure that no one is out on the streets. With the opening of the new affordable housing apartments, several residents from our supportive living suites are making the move to full independent living. While that is a significant achievement all by itself, it does allow us to open up more suites for those in our shelters which will open up 12 more beds. Also, some from our shelter residents are moving to the new tower as well which will free up even more beds starting on Saturday. We are excited for all of them as they get their own place to call home but we also are happy that it means that we can help more people.
While it is too soon to tell if this is a cyclical increase or part of a long term increase in the numbers of homeless on Saskatoon streets, we are taking the following steps to ensure that we can meet the increased demand.
- We are purchasing additional permanent beds for our men’s shelter. We hope to add 8 more beds in the next couple of weeks.
- We will be adding more beds to the women’s shelter.
- We are adapting to the changing demographic and needs of our shelters with programming, case management, and addition supports designed to help clients find employment and housing outside of The Lighthouse. Our own informal survey is that there are places to rent in Saskatoon that are affordable but people need the supports to find them. We are reallocating even more resources to provide those supports.
It’s a big challenge but we are thrilled to see how staff, donors, and volunteers have stepped up to the plate and made a significant difference in the lives of those in our shelters. If you are interesting in partnering with us in tackling this challenge, contact DeeAnn Mercier at 664.4663 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.