Assisted living centre gets tax money for renovation, new unit

Reported by Bryn Levy
First Posted: Apr 11, 2014 4:03pm | Last Updated: Apr 11, 2014 5:00pm

A commitment from the provincial government means a major facelift for the Lighthouse Supported Living facility in downtown Saskatoon.

Health minister Dustin Duncan was on hand to announce $1.5 million in funding from the Government of Saskatchewan.

“It’s just a very worthwhile program and organization that’s been serving the people of Saskatoon for many years,” Duncan said.

The money caps a $4 million fundraising blitz started by the Lighthouse 11 months ago. A portion will go towards renovations to the facility, which provides housing to about 70 people in what was formerly the Capri Hotel.

The Lighthouse’s DeeAnne Mercier said the renovation will bring the building “into this century.”

“We’re going to be taking out the carpeting, re-doing the drywall, re-doing the plumbing, re-doing the bathroom fixtures. Making accessible doorways for people. Just those little things that are so important when you want to provide a safe home for people,” Mercier said.

Another piece of the project will see the construction of a 38-bed stabilisation unit.  The new unit will provide temporary emergency shelter to people who may be too intoxicated to be housed elsewhere.

Tracy Muggli is director of mental health and addictions services for the Saskatoon Health Region. She said the new unit will help reduce costly emergency room visits when the region’s eight bed Brief Detox Unit (BDU) fills up.

“We know that we can provide shelter services for far less. And, it’s a far more appropriate placement for people that are struggling,” she said.

For the Saskatoon Police Service (SPS), the issue of where to house intoxicated people is particularly important.

The service was rocked by three deaths in its holding cells back in 2010, and has been pushing to get out of the business of being the city’s housing of last resort ever since.

“We did have three in-custody deaths within a short period of time. And nobody wants to see that, whether it be in cells, whether it be in a park, or in your own home,” said Inspector Larry Vols, who heads up the SPS Headquarters Division.

Vols said the new unit will be another step in relieving pressure on the holding cells.

“People that need housing, that need other assistance, don’t need to be in our cells. We’re happy to see that there’s money being put aside for them,” he said.

SPDAT Training

Today organizations who work with those experiencing homelessness are at the Lighthouse to learn from Ian De Jong from OrgCode about using SPDAT.
SPDAT is a Service Prioritization Decision Assistance Tool. The goal is that through this assessment individuals will spend less time in emergency shelters, be provided more individualized care, and we will be able to collect better data. Better data will allow all of us to know where the greatest needs are in our community.

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Thank you to the United Way for bring this to Saskatoon so that organizations can have a common language to discuss the needs of those we serve.

Our Deepest Sympathies

Recently Cliff, a long-time tenant passed away. The family requested that memorial donations be directed to the Lighthouse. Rainbow Cinema made a large donation in Cliff’s name as he had been employed there for over 2 decades, as well as other gifts from friends and family.

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From everyone here at the Lighthouse, our deepest sympathies go out to all those who knew and loved him. We will continue to house everyone in need of a home thanks to your support.

To donate click the link here: https://www.canadahelps.org/dn/2762.