Top 5 tips on helping Panhandlers in Saskatoon

Screen Shot 2015-03-20 at 12.45.01 PM

How should people handle panhandling in Saskatoon? The issue has come to the forefront in the media in the past couple of weeks, with many people weighing in. A 2011 article in the Atlantic stated:

I’m certain that there are some cases where donations to an especially needy beggar are justified. But the ultimate danger in panhandling is that we don’t give to every beggar. There’s not enough change in our purses. We choose to donate money based on the level of perceived need. Beggars known this, so there is an incentive on their part to exaggerate their need, by either lying about their circumstances or letting their appearance visibly deteriorate rather than seek help.

If we drop change in a beggar’s hand without donating to a charity, we’re acting to relieve our guilt rather than underlying crisis of poverty. The same calculus applies to the beggar who relies on panhandling for a booze hit. In short, both sides fail each other by being lured into fleeting sense of relief rather than a lasting solution to the structural problem of homelessness.

Here are a few suggestions for a response the next time a panhandler asks you for money:

1. Acknowledge and Engage

  • Smile and actually say hello. Go out of your way to approach rather than avoid panhandlers.
  • Engage the person by starting a conversation. Take time to listen.

2. Don’t give money

  • Ask what their greatest need is. In most cases, meeting the immediate need of food or clothing is best.
  • Offer an alternative. Socks, underwear, toiletry items including toothbrushes and toothpaste, bottled water, granola bars or gift certificates for food can help address immediate needs.

3. Invite BhcmBegCcAAxpIX

  • If you want to help a panhandler or homeless person get back on their feet, you can point them to the Lighthouse or other service agency aimed at lifting people out of poverty. Since 1997 we have provided long-term housing for those who have experienced homelessness in Saskatoon.
  • If they are in immediate distress you can call the Lighthouse Mobile Outreach at 306-653-0538. They can transport them to a safe space.

4. Donate 

  • Many organizations are working together to end homelessness in Saskatoon including the Lighthouse, the Friendship Inn, the Bridge, Salvation Army, and the Saskatoon Indian and Metis Friendship Centre and many more. These organizations are able to increase their levels of support and programming through your donations of money and goods. To donate to the Lighthouse click here.

5. Volunteer

  • If you volunteer, not only do you give back to the community and help those in need but by sharing your experience you can help eliminate misconceptions and stereotypes. Gather a group of friends and start a clothing or non-perishable food drive, host a fundraising event, or volunteer at the Lighthouse Cameco Community Kitchen or other local organizations.

In Orlando, Florida, the Central Florida Regional Commission took another approach to panhandling. They asked people who where panhandling what the people who passed them everyday might not know about them. The end result was a video that is truly eye-opening.

If you have a story of helping a panhandler in a non-traditional way, please let us know in the comments!

Saskatoon organizations receive funding to fight homelessness

Via Eagle Feather News

FullSizeRender (4)

Gaps in services mean that many people who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness in Saskatoon are tragically falling through the cracks. Saskatoon Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP) and the Community Advisory Board on Saskatoon Homelessness (CAB-SH) are proud to announce new services and supports for individuals and families who face homelessness which will fill these gaps.

The Government of Canada’s Homelessness Partnering Strategy (HPS) aims to prevent and reduce homelessness across Canada. The HPS program is generously providing $464,734 for these important capital and service projects:

1. The Saskatoon Indian and Metis Friendship Centre will receive $35,306 in capital funding to renovate their client meeting space and lobby.

2. The Lighthouse Supported Living Inc. will receive $55,941 in capital funding to develop a bed bug heating chamber and renovate the laundry facilities for their supported living clients.

3. The Saskatoon Indian and Métis Friendship Centre in partnership with the Friendship Inn will receive $223,526 in multi-year funding for three new staff positions to address homelessness. Two Rapid Rehousing Case Managers and one Centralized Intake staff person will assess needs and support individuals and families to find housing, access income supports and work towards housing stability. The Centralized Intake position will serve clients who may be referred to a number of appropriate services, including Housing First case management.

4. The Lighthouse Supported Living Inc. will receive $150,261 in multi-year funding for a Housing Locator position to help locate and secure housing for Housing First and non-Housing First clients in Saskatoon.

FullSizeRender (6)“Our Government is proud to support the Saskatoon Housing Initiatives Partnership and its partners, The Lighthouse Supported Living and the Saskatoon Indian Métis Friendship Centre, and all the work they do in Saskatoon,” said Kelly Block, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and Member of Parliament for Saskatoon–Rosetown–Biggar. “With a roof over their heads, all Canadians can prosper as we work together towards eliminating homelessness.”

The four new staff positions will work collaboratively with Housing First case managers at Crisis Intervention Services, as well as other community agencies that provide case management and support to people who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness.

“Our organization has witnessed the tremendous difficulty people experience when trying to find housing they can afford, especially when they move into Saskatoon for the first time,” says Bill Mintram, Executive Director of the Saskatoon Indian and Métis Friendship Centre. “We are hopeful that the new staff will be able to assess the need, redirect people out of shelters and provide real support to secure permanent housing.”

Sandra Stack, Executive Director of the Friendship Inn, sees this work as a whole community effort:

“Providing housing to a homeless person or family is grounding. From a place of stability, they can tackle other issues. We are very excited to be in collaboration with the Friendship Centre and our other community partners to fill these critical gaps in support. My hope is that the community as a whole, Saskatoon citizens as neighbours and landlords, will be supportive and as excited as we are about reducing homelessness.”

These investments at the Lighthouse that will have a significant impact on the quality of life for Lighthouse residents and those who have experienced homelessness in Saskatoon, says Don Windels, Executive Director of the Lighthouse Supported Living Inc.

“The Housing Locator is a key part of Housing First, finding appropriate housing for some of the most vulnerable, high-needs and at-risk individuals in our community.”

Coldest Night of the Year

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Thank you Saskatoon for joining us for the Coldest Night of the Year! While we canceled the 10km as it was around -22 degress, the 5km and 2km had just over 200 walkers. Together we raised over $50,000 for the Lighthouse and the Bridge.

Our sponsor KPMG help us purchase hand warmers, coffee, treats and provide the chili meal afterwards.

KPMG_CMYK_US (4)

Also thanks to Grazing Goat for being our distance sponsor, David’s Tea for warming us up, and Prairie Meats and Saputo.

The Coldest Night of the Year truly helps the hungry, homeless and hurting right here in Saskatoon thanks to your support!

Saskatoon Health Region Partners With The Lighthouse And M.D. Ambulance To Improve Health Care In The Community

Saskatoon Health Region’s 14-Day Challenge, which ended yesterday, has resulted in a new six-month pilot project at the Lighthouse Supported Living in partnership with the Region and M.D. Ambulance. The Lighthouse is a community-based organization that provides emergency shelter, supported living and affordable housing to those in need in Saskatoon.

As part of the six-month pilot project, the Lighthouse will:​

  • Dedicate another eight beds to clients with mental health complex needs and expand support to clients 24 hours a day. The increase in beds from 9 to 17 will support people to transition to independent living.
  • Expand the Stabilization Unit to 24 hours. The unit currently provides emergency shelter to clients under the influence of drugs or alcohol from 4 p.m. to 8 a.m. The increase in hours is expected to reduce substance misuse and mental health-related admissions to emergency departments, and improve access to addiction support.
  • IMG_9232Expand the Lighthouse Mobile Outreach service from six to 16 hours a day, improving access to services, reducing the use of ambulances and ensuring case managers can spend less time transporting clients and more time assisting them one-on-one. The Mobile Outreach service allows a team of two to provide transportation to homeless or struggling individuals to the Lighthouse or other support services.

Have a paramedic on site 12 hours a day, seven days a week. An embedded paramedic on the Lighthouse’s primary health team will be able to provide emergency assessment and triage, as well as general paramedicine, reducing the need for ambulance and acute care access.

  • Add a care aide, addictions counsellor and increased primary health nurse practitioner hours to the team to improve continuity of care, enhance referral and access to appropriate services and advance coordination of multiple health team members on site.

Overall, the expansion of services is meant to decrease emergency department visits and consults, ambulance and police calls, and inpatient admissions to acute care by ensuring the right care by the right provider at the right time in the right place. For more information on consults, click here​.

“Saskatoon Health Region is making investments at the Lighthouse that will have a significant impact on the quality of life for Lighthouse residents and those using their shelter services,” says Tracy Muggli, Director of Mental Health and Addictions Services, Saskatoon Health Region. “Improving the overall health status and outcomes of Lighthouse residents in an environment they are already accessing will improve the quality of life of some of the most vulnerable, high-needs and at-risk individuals in our community.”

The community paramedicine model is an important piece to ensure clients are provided the right care at the right time in their homes.

“M.D. Ambulance is pleased to have a paramedic embedded with the Lighthouse care team,” says Gerry Schriemer, Chief Operating Officer for M.D. Ambulance. “The paramedic will bring a skill set that will assist the decision-making process to ensure that clients receive the right care utilizing the right resources at the right facilities.”

The pilot project is a result of the Region’s ongoing planning sessions as part of the Lighthouse Integrated Health and Shelter Team.

“We are very thankful for the support of Saskatoon Health Region and M.D. Ambulance, allowing us to work together to help men and women achieve greater health, stability and independence,” says Don Windels, Executive Director of the Lighthouse Supported Living. “Through co-operation in our community we can address gaps in the system and help improve the lives of those in Saskatoon.”

Learn more about the services provided at the Lighthouse Supported Living: www.lighthousesaskatoon.org.

Learn more about the Region’s 14-Day Challenge: www.saskatoonhealthregion.ca/news.

Lighthouse Emergency Shelter Now Open

Join us for the Grand Opening of the Lighthouse in North Battleford this Monday, February 9th at 10:30am, 962 102nd St. in North Battleford. All are welcome as we celebrate the support of the community and the opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of the homeless, hungry and hurting.
The Lighthouse Serving the Battlefords Emergency Shelter is now open. Serving men, women and families, who are experiencing a lack of housing or their current home is unsafe, we provide a welcoming atmosphere with warm meals, showers, and programming to help find appropriate housing in the wider community.IMG_0649The women’s dorm rooms can be used for families or for individuals with counter and sink space in each.

IMG_0650

 

Storage for those we serve.

IMG_0653

The men’s bed are outfitted with pillows, sheets and comforters when a guest checks in.

 

If you know someone in need of a place to spend the night in the Battlefords please call 306-445-3600. The shelter is located at 962 102nd St. in North Battleford.