Archive | October, 2013

Long-time Supporters Brian & Kathy Turnquist give to the Up Capital Campaign

The Turnquist’s have been generous supporters of the Lighthouse for many years and this year have designated their gift of $25,000 to go towards the Up Capital Campaign to renovate the suites in the Dube Lighthouse Tower and to expand the emergency shelters and programming space.

Brian and Kathy are also very giving of their time volunteering at the Lighthouse with St. Paul’s United for Coffee and Conversation on Tuesday nights. Their enthusiasm for the mission of the Lighthouse combined with their relationships with the clients make the Turnquists strong advocates for supportive housing for those in need in Saskatoon. Brian has also joined the Campaign leadership team to encourage others to lend their support to the Lighthouse.


Our reasons for assisting at The Lighthouse are quite simple.  We believe we have a responsibility to help our neighbors in Saskatoon to live with dignity.  The Lighthouse is ideally located in the downtown to serve their clients with safe housing and with a short-term shelter.  The expansion and renewal at The Lighthouse is an important project for Saskatoon and we are very pleased to be a part of it.                             

                                      – Brian Turnquist

Thank you so much Brian and Kathy! You are leaders in the Saskatoon community. If you would like to make a donation call DeeAnn at 306-653-0538 or donate online here.

Donor Stories – Heather Kehoe

Donation of $10,000 to the Lighthouse from Heather Kehoe truly from the heart

Our Co-Chair Heather Kehoe has brought her enthusiasm, warmth and professionalism to the Lighthouse Up Capital Campaign. Her personal connection to how mental health can effect families allows her to speak with empathy about the need for supportive housing for people with mental illness.


Heather’s Story:

My girls and I are so excited to be a part of such an amazing organization and campaign. Having seen firsthand how poverty, homelessness and mental illness can effect families, I felt compelled to get involved with a campaign that could really change the lives of others in a very positive way. I am blessed to have a wonderful supportive family but also quick to remember that not everyone is as fortunate as I am , and that The Lighthouse provides this sense of family and community support that individuals need. Donating to The Lighthouse not only meant investing in the future of individuals at the facility but also an investment in the economic and social growth of our great city and province. I ask you to please take a tour of The Lighthouse and please consider donating to the wonderful cause. Help Build People UP! 


Heather, Saige and Caprice Kehoe


If you have been inspired to donate by Heather’s generosity and wish to donate click here.

The Blue Slippers

Kristy shared this marvellous story of the power of some donated slippers this morning:

Do you remember when a couple brought a box of shoes and inside there was some blue slippers? Well there was a client who I was able to help through those slippers.

slippersThis person came to me complaining about his feet and I asked them what was wrong. They stated they had blisters and asked if I had a band-aid. I asked to look at his feet because I wanted to see how bad his feet were. They proceeded to undo their shoes and at this point I noticed they had no socks on and was wearing high leather work boots.

As the shoe came off I saw how bad their feet actually were and I knew I did not have the medical experience to help them. What I was able to do was get them some socks, and I grabbed the slippers that were just donated and brought it to them. I was assuming the slippers would be too big as they were wearing a size 7 shoe and the slippers were a 10. But when I brought them over, they fit perfect! The shoes they were wearing were 3X too small!

My next step was to get in contact with our new nurse Donna to see if she would have time to dress their feet at some point. This person has been with us for a few days and has been known to just hang around the dining area. So I knew if I was to find our nurse it wouldn’t be a problem to find them… I was wrong… the nurse came and this person was no where to be found! Turns out the socks and slippers helped out wonders and this person was walking around outside! We finally tracked them down and the nurse was able to dress his feet… by supper time I saw the first smile I have seen on this person… it totally made my day and week!

Donor Stories – John and Leslie Courtney

Thank you to Leslie & John Courtney for their $25,000 gift towards the Lighthouse Up Capital Campaign
Leslie Courtney not only signed up to be the Co-Chair of the Lighthouse Capital Campaign but has also made a sizeable donation towards the renovation of suites and expansion of services at the Lighthouse. Leslie shared with us why she decided to get involved:
John and I are happy to be able to help the Lighthouse.  When we toured the Lighthouse, and saw all the great things being done; with the overnight shelter, the assisted living tower, and the affordable living tower, we realized that there are a lot of people who really don’t have the same support and outlook that we have.  We saw that people were coming in from the streets and being helped.  They are being helped by a caring community of people at the Lighthouse.  I love seeing people progress from the homeless and helpless point, on to where they have a bed, or a whole room and can begin to have hope!  Once they have hope and stability and support in their lives, there is so much they can accomplish!  We believe that the Lighthouse does such great work; that we wanted to make a donation, as well as give our time.
I hope more people see what the Lighthouse is accomplishing with the variety of needs they service, and that they are compelled to give their money to help too!
–Leslie Courtney


Thank you so much Leslie and John. Your spirit of generosity is truly special and helps those who are vulnerable and in need in Saskatoon find a place to call home.


If you would like to make a donation towards the Lighthouse Capital Campaign, click here.

Mentally ill find support and community at Lighthouse


Most of us have never lived on the streets, but probably feel some compassion, and possibly ambiguity about those who do. Those suffering from mental illness end up in surprising places; warehoused in prisons, in and out of homeless shelters, or on the streets.

Mental Illness Awareness Week shines a light on the plight of sufferers and hopes to remove the lingering stigma associated with it. Mental illness has many faces and some of them find support at the Lighthouse Supported Living in Saskatoon.

The Lighthouse is a homeless shelter that also provides supported living and affordable housing. Its clients have typically experienced disruptions in development and lack of basic supports.

“Many of the chronically homeless have had significant disruption in their lives, i.e., trauma, abandonment, mental illness, addictions. These conditions interfere with healthy personality development and subsequent functioning. There is an erosion of a basic sense of security,” says Bueckert, Clinical Social Worker at the Lighthouse.

A significant segment of the homeless population struggles with mental illness. “I would think 75 to 80 per cent of our clients are mentally ill,” says DeeAnn Mercier, Lighthouse Director of Communications. However, that number includes those with acquired brain injuries, cognitive impairments, developmental delays and other non-standard definitions of mental illness. “So we have a wide variety of clients here who can really benefit from some stable housing that gives them a large sense of independence but also has a support network built in,” she adds.

Community services for the mentally ill exist for a broad spectrum of needs. But attempting to access these services can be daunting. There are mental health, addiction and financial services, and psychiatrists, physicians and pharmacists are involved. “The services are all kind of separate and segregated,” says Bueckert. “It takes a lot to sort all that stuff out if you’re a consumer of these kinds of services. It’s a big challenge to know how to deal with all of that,” he says.

The Lighthouse tracks these services for their clients, enabling an integrated approach. “Part of our case management is to try to sort through a lot of that and make sense of the systems, develop connections for clients and foster relationships,” says Bueckert.

The Lighthouse provides a continuum of care designed to lead clients to independent living. For many, the entry point is emergency housing, whether it’s the women’s shelter or the stabilization unit. From there, clients can transition into supported living, complex needs, or affordable housing.

A newly dedicated floor in the Dubé Lighthouse will address complex needs. “The Health Region came to us and said, ‘we would really like first dibs on some of your rooms because when our clients go there they fall off the radar’,” says Mercier. She hastens to add that in this case, falling off the radar is a good thing, because clients stabilize and stop using all the services – like emergency, hospital, prison, etc.

“The Health Region gave us some funding to renovate this floor and also to have a higher level of staffing,” says Mercier. In addition to having a clinical social worker in Bueckert, they will have an addictions staffer, another social worker and a nurse for the complex needs floor. Of the nine rooms set aside, eight are long term beds (one year) and one is a mental health respite bed. If you have no place to live after a year in complex needs, you can stay and transition to supported living.

Bueckert oversees the complex needs floor. “Essentially we have a partnership with Mental Health Services to assist in housing some of their harder to serve clientele,” he says. “These are people that maybe have gone through their approved homes and so on, and for whatever reason, have not been able to stay in those homes; some of them have addiction issues, they all have significant mental health diagnoses so they need some fairly close monitoring and medication management and a lot of case managing.”

Clients at the Lighthouse may find that the approach there is a little less structured and intensive than the approved homes they’ve been in, and it’s a better fit for some. They have a little more independence but there’s still a safety net of supports and services.

Bueckert directs programming throughout the facility.

Programming can help clients uncover some of the barriers to independence they may have. There’s a weekly recovery group, an AA group, anger management classes, people skills classes, and leisure activities. “In addition to planned activities we’ll sit down and meet with individuals whenever they have a crisis or an issue, the door is always open,” says Bueckert.

Bueckert says he used to do “nice middle class” therapy. “I had a private practice where you sit down for an hour every week. This is not like that,” he smiles. And although it’s not as tidy, “it’s where the rubber meets the road,” or rather the street.

“Mental illness is such a huge issue and I think the more we can put community supports in place, the less frequent the use of emergency services and inpatient services -which are necessary as well. But what people really need is a sense of belonging, they need some supports on an ongoing basis, they need community, and so that’s really what we’re trying to create,” says Bueckert.