Saskatoon, SK — Saskatoon’s The Lighthouse Supported Living organization has broken ground on its latest project, which will offer more lower-income individuals in Saskatoon a place to live.
The project will see the construction of 58 one- and two-bedroom units for the non-profit organization’s suites at 20th Avenue East.
The Lighthouse, which provides both transitional and long-term housing for lower-income individuals in Saskatoon, is building adjacent to its other property, which was formerly the Capri hotel. The eight-storey structure is scheduled to be completed by spring of next year.
“We expect residents can occupy [the building] soon after completion,” says Tim Gross, executive director of housing development with the Ministry of Social Services. Currently, The Lighthouse suites include 64 supported living units and 28 emergency shelter beds, with meals and wellness programs available on-site.
“The primary goal is to work with those people that are able to move on to independent living; it’s the ultimate goal of the people at the Lighthouse,” Gross explains.
“In the new building, we’re anticipating a longer stay for residents,” he continues.
The Lighthouse’s Jason Moore explains that many of the inhabitants struggle with a number of personal challenges.
“Any of the people who come to The Lighthouse who may have addiction issues [or] lack life skills, we work with those people by providing programming … to help our clients obtain and retain housing,” he adds, noting that a staggering 80 to 85 percent of residents are combatting some form of mental illness or addiction.
Moore explains that, along with offering residents a place to stay, The Lighthouse provides programming, such as work training, and life skills, such as budgeting, for its inhabitants.
“Our goal is to increase the [amount] of low-income housing available in Saskatoon,” he continues.
“As Saskatoon’s economy is growing and developing, we’re also noticing a trend in less lower or affordable housing in our community.”
“So much so that the city, the community, and … the provincial government decided we needed to do something about it.”
The Lighthouse housing project is expected to cost approximately $15.3 million; the Saskatchewan Housing Corporation is contributing about $13 million, with The Lighthouse providing $1.5 million and the City of Saskatoon $925,000.
Christina Beck, a current resident and volunteer at The Lighthouse, says the new units are a welcome addition.
“[There are] a lot of people out there that are unfortunate,” Beck says.
“There’s always people coming in, looking for places to stay and filling in applications. I know the waiting list is really big right now, so it’s great they’re going ahead with construction to make more spaces for new people.”
The 58 new units will be added to the existing 64 apartments, bumping the total number of available living quarters to 130.
I want to invite you all to the sod turning ceremony for our new 58-unit housing project, which is being build adjacent to our current building. Although it is a ‘sod turning’ ceremony construction has already started. (We didn’t want to turn the sod in winter!) This new facility will provide at risk and low income individuals with safe, affordable housing and help them increase their independence, while still being able to access the services provide by the Lighthouse, such as meals and wellness programs.
The sod turning celebration is this Friday, June 24, 2011 at 11:00am, at 227 – 20th St. E. There will be refreshments to follow.
Please RSVP to email@example.com, if you are planning to attend. We look forward to sharing The Lighthouse’s continuing mission with you.
Our building on the right with the new units being constructed on the left. Yep, the giant crane downtown is helping us!
The construction is expected to be completed for Spring of 2012.
Mental health disorders are the leading cause of homelessness. The Lighthouse houses an overwhelming number of clients battling with mental health disorders. The Lighthouse works closely with mental health nurses and psychiatrists in the community who have patient’s in our care. We provide a med management program for all clients and log the medications and doses. Medications assist in stabilizing the client and creating good chemical balances, however they do not remove the issues that may have led to the mental health breakdown. Studies overwhelmingly show that environment and psychological trauma plays a major role in the mental health of an individual.
Some well-known factors that lead to mental health disorders:
• Severe psychological trauma suffered as a child, such as emotional, physical, or sexual abuse
• An important early loss, such as the loss of a parent
• Poor ability to relate to others
• Death or divorce
• A dysfunctional family life
• Living in poverty
• Feelings of inadequacy, low self-esteem, anxiety, anger, or loneliness
• Changing jobs or schools
• Social or cultural expectations (For example, a society that associates beauty with thinness can be a factor in the development of eating disorders.)
• Substance abuse by the person or the person’s parents
In order to cure or control the mental issues one must take into consideration behaviour modification or Cognitive Therapy.
What is Cognitive Therapy?
It is a therapy developed around solving problematic and reoccurring mental health disorders by looking at the past environment of the patient and changing that environment both physically and emotionally and teaching the patient to think differently about their situation, past and present. It requires providing the patient with the tools in order to achieve this and the support to do so.
Cognitive therapy is a method that identifies and helps a person to correct misconceptions in what he or she is thinking that would cause negative or painful feelings. These delusional thoughts also influence the person behaviours, and result in faulty or inadequate choices or reactions. In treating a person who is experiencing psychological difficulties, it is essential to understand their thought processes by looking at the factors that caused this type of thinking and then to begin to change the way they think and speak about these issues. When changes are made in thinking (automatic thoughts, assumptions and core beliefs), changes in emotions and behaviour soon follow. In addition to this behavioural techniques and strategies are explored as needed to ensure a more successful outcome (i.e., anger management, relaxation training, and assertiveness training). It has taken time for mental health issues to develop but change can be fairly rapid depending on the volunteer acceptance from the patient. And the process is lasting.
The Lighthouse has created “The Wellness Plan” this plan is client driven as this ensures the success of the client. Our support workers look at our client’s history and from there determines appropriate supports for the client to overcome some of the resulting issues of previous trauma and other negative environmental factors. Referrals are made and the client begins programming. The Support workers also assist the client in setting and achieving realistic goals and assist with the thought process in planning out the steps to achieve them. As one goal is achieved after another our client becomes more hopeful and positive, they begin to see that they are capable of having some control in their environment and thinking begins to change. The mentality goes from a defeated thinking to a succeeding thinking. Self-esteem is developed. The client is now ready to take back control of their future.