Just in time for the cold weather the Lighthouse Supported Living Inc. has reached a donation milestone enabling the expansion of the hours of their Mobile Outreach for an additional two hours, now running from 4:00pm to 10:00pm. The Lighthouse Supported Living Inc. is a non-profit housing provider offering emergency shelter, supported living and affordable housing for those in need. The LMO teams engage homeless and street entrenched individuals for the purpose of assessing need and then assisting them in accessing shelter, health services, and various social services.
The Lighthouse Mobile Outreach (LMO) service began on February 18, 2014. Since that time two Lighthouse staff, using a refurbished ambulance have been out in the community of Saskatoon between the hours of 5:00pm until 9:00pm, seven days a week.
“The Mobile Outreach was receiving many calls to transport individuals during the day but we did not previously have the resources to run it for longer hours,” said Dennis Bueckert, Director of Client Services at the Lighthouse. “Ideally we would like to see the Mobile Outreach available for those in need 24 hours a day. These additional two hours are an important step in the right direction.”
“It is really thanks to the community we are able to expand this service,” said DeeAnn Mercier, Director of Fundraising and Communications for the Lighthouse. “All funds collected through The Amazing Race – Lighthouse Edition went towards the Mobile Outreach as well as recent donations from churches, foundations, and many individuals.”
From its inception in February over 700 individuals have been assisted via the Mobile Outreach. Averaging 10 service encounters per night over the first 6 months, there were 1724 person-service encounters. Of those served there was a 4 to 1 male/female ratio.
LMO contacts occur because of calls received regarding vulnerable individuals needing assistance. Additionally, many contacts are made by LMO staff initiating contact while out on the street or by individuals themselves approaching them directly.
In the first few months after LMO service began, the heaviest proportion (40%) of requests for service came from Brief and Social Detox (BSD). Also during the initial months, local residents/businesses accounted for another 30% of requests on average. These two sources of referral have diminished significantly to where in May, June and July, Brief and Social Detox accounted for only 8% and requests from local residents/businesses has become negligible. By contrast, “street level” contacts have grown from very few to now constituting upwards of 68% of the total requests. This is indicative of the LMO team’s successes in establishing trust with vulnerable, unstably housed or homeless individuals and of their effectiveness in diverting them into more appropriate shelter.
Most LMO client contacts in the community involve relationship building, personal support, providing service information and sometimes providing food, water or socks. A good number of the requests result in transportation to access services.
Two thirds of all LMO referral are for the Lighthouse Stabilization Unit’s (LSU) services. General shelter, LSU services and BDU services accounted for 43% of all support services which LMO helped 50% of all transported individuals to the LSU, 10% to other Lighthouse Shelters, 9% went to Brief and Social Detox. Of all referrals, 10-15% were for assistance in accessing medical facilities or medical services.
The Lighthouse Mobile Outreach vehicle was purchased thanks to funds from the Saskatoon Community Foundation, with support for staffing from the Communities Initiatives Fund and the RUH Foundation Community Mental Health Endowment Granting Program.
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