Woman of the Lighthouse Supported Living women’s shelter will now have a brighter place of refuge.
On Wednesday, eight corporate staff from Potash Corporation rolled up their sleeves and pitched to turn the unfinished shelter into a place that looks more like home.
DeeAnn Mercier, director of communications with Lighthouse Supported Living said the extra help could not come soon any sooner.
“We needed to use the building as soon as the space was available but we didn’t get to put those finishing touches towards it,” said Mercier.
“We’re so thankful for United Way and Potash Corp. for coming to give our woman’s shelter a little bit of a facelift, It’s through organizations like this that we’re able to go above and beyond and do better for our clients and they deserve better.”
The needed help is all part of United Way’s 13th annual Day of Care where local corporations and businesses spend a day to help community agencies and programs that receive assistance through United Way.
“We make the match between the agencies that need the assistance and the corporations that are willing to give a number of employees or if there is a financial (need) they are can sponsor as well,” said Myra Potter, director of resource development with the United Way.
More than 150 volunteers left the United Way’s pancake breakfast kick off, ready to help local organizations with building renovations, gardening and community events across the city.
Mosaic also donated their staff in helping Big Brothers Big Sisters of Saskatoon and Area with an indoor barbecue for children.
Last year, Potash Corp. donated $737,000 to the local United Way program and while with United Way said that cash donations are greatly appreciated, sometimes an organization just needs an extra hand around the house.
“Sometimes we have projects where we just need people with enthusiasm and commitment to get the job done. It’s really an example of United Way stepping out of the traditional fundraising model,” said Potter.
Potter believes the day not only benefits the organizations but also the volunteers themselves, prompting them continue to help their community in the future.
“(We are) reaching out to the community in different way and fulfilling our mission to be a volunteer and act. This is really connecting the donors to the community,” said Potter.
Built more than a century ago, the Lighthouse Supported Living shelter was originally a hotel, with numerous hotel chains owning the builder over the years.
The building was later donated to Lighthouse in 1997 to help women and men who experience poverty, homelessness and disabilities, housing 64 shelter rooms with a maximum occupancy of 68 people.
Three meals are given a day and are able to take various support programs.
A bingo hall once stood where the newly renovated, 21 bed woman’s shelter is now, which opened in January.
The shelter is part of new renovations at Lighthouse which will include a future nursing centre and employment centre.
A new building tower that will house 58 affordable living units will is also be added on.
A mural along with night tables, new bedding and care packages were some of the final touches Potash Corporation added to the women’s shelter.
“Women want to stay some place nice, some place that feels like home, where they feel secure. They are going through a very stressful and probably traumatic period in their life and we want to offer them a refuge and a safe place,” said Mercier.
“It’s transformational when you can take a day of your life and know that you’re really having an impact on somebody else’s life and that’s what its all about. I think the volunteers are transformed because they get step out of their typical day in the office and do something magical,” said Potter.
For information on how to volunteer in the community, call the United Way at 975-3477 or visit www.unitedwaysaskatoon.ca
© Copyright (c) The StarPhoenix
The 13th Annual United Way Day of Caring was today and The Lighthouse was joined by a team of passionate PotashCorp employees who painted and decorated our Women’s Emergency Shelter. Here they are at work.
These photos are the finished product.
A special thanks to The United Way and to PotashCorp, you have no idea how much you have improved the lives of homeless women in Saskatoon! It was was an extreme makeover.
Here is their story of their experience with us and it sounded like they learned a lot.
As reported by Chris Mangatal of CKOM News
Having a roof over your head is one of the basic necessities of a healthy lifestyle — but sometimes those dealing with mental health issues and addictions have a hard time finding a place to live.
A $170,000 donation from the Saskatoon Health Region going towards Lighthouse Supported Living has allowed them to renovate nine rooms in the complex needs wing.
“Now we have an option where the support is built right into the facility and we also have professionals coming in from the health region to continue to add to that support,” said Tracy Muggli, director of mental health and addictions services for the Saskatoon Health Region.
“I think one of the big difficulties is the stigma that’s associated with addictions and mental health.”
She said addressing that stigma is one of their major tasks — to create more capacity in the community to provide living space.
“We’re trying to house those people that need someone to take a chance on them, so that they can go out into the community,” said DeeAnn Mercier, director of communications at the Lighthouse.
“It’s a place for people to be stabilized and focus on the next step in their lives, to gain greater independence.”
There is a lot of excitement coming from those waiting to move into the new rooms.
“I have one lady who’s constantly asking me when can I move in? When can I move in? Can i buy toilet paper yet? Should I buy toilet paper today? When can I move in?” said Mercier.
The Lighthouse plans to open a new tower in the fall with affordable housing units, which will include kitchenettes for more independent living.
The Lighthouse Supported Living Inc. (The Lighthouse) tower project is now under construction at 227 -20th Street East in Saskatoon. The Government of Saskatchewan, through Saskatchewan Housing Corporation (SHC), is contributing approximately $13 million in funding to the overall total cost of $15.3 million.
The remaining funding of $1.5 million is being provided by The Lighthouse and $925,000 from the City of Saskatoon.
“The province remains strongly committed to providing families and individuals with safe, adequate and affordable housing based on their needs,” Social Services Minister and Minister responsible for Saskatchewan Housing Corporation June Draude said. “These new units will provide independent living opportunities and access to needed supports for clients transitioning from supported living units. We are proud to have contributed to this project and, most importantly, to helping Saskatchewan individuals in need of this type of housing.”
“The Lighthouse is thankful for the continued support of our shared vision of affordable housing for all,” The Lighthouse Supported Living Inc. Executive Director Don Windels said. “Today celebrates a much needed expansion of safe and affordable housing and supportive programming for those in need in our community.”
“The City of Saskatoon is proud to be a part of the Lighthouse project by providing a capital grant and tax abatement,” Saskatoon Mayor Donald Atchison said. “This crucial expansion will provide a full spectrum of housing needs and ensure that the most vulnerable people in our community have a roof over their heads and regular meals. Congratulations to Don Windels and the Lighthouse Supported Living organization for their determination, patience and foresight to see this project through to completion.”
The project will provide 58 new fully independent, studio transitional units (11 double and 47 single units) in addition to the existing 64 supported living units. This will provide approximately 130 units of available housing for The Lighthouse. Many of the units will be independent, and will add to the housing options offered by The Lighthouse.
The Lighthouse currently offers both shelter space and supported living units for vulnerable low-income individuals, with meal service available on site. The new units will offer clients the opportunity to live independently, yet still access The Lighthouse supports.
The project is estimated to be completed in spring 2012.
For more information, contact: