Reception: coffee & tea reception: Saturday, July 23, 2pm
July 16 – August 11
The Gallery/art placement inc.
228 – 3rd Ave S. Saskatoon, SK S7K 1L9
306 664 3385
From the The Gallery website:
It has become a tradition for the past several years for us to mount a summer exhibition that steps slightly outside the gallery’s usual programming. Continuing this practice, we are pleased to present the work of Donald Bird, a previously unknown artist who happens to be a resident of the Lighthouse supported living facility in downtown Saskatoon.
We first met Donald through the art supplies branch of our business. He has been a regular customer for a number of years, experimenting with a range of materials, first pencils and paper, and later venturing into acrylic and oil paints. We have come to know him as a kind and thoughtful person who has faced challenges due to circumstances as well as difficulties in communicating verbally. Art has become a refuge and an alternative means of expression; we have been told he will spend entire days drawing and painting between meals. The Lighthouse has not only provided a stable and comfortable place for him to live, they have also recognized his interest in art-making and facilitated his access to the materials needed to pursue this passion. It is a testament to both the positive impact art can have, and to the good work the Lighthouse does to support and improve the lives of people in our community.
A familiar face in the art supplies store for a number of years, it was only recently that Donald started bringing some of his finished paintings and drawings in for us to see. There was something immediately unexpected and beautiful about the works; mythic visions rendered in gestural brushstrokes, natural and supernatural elements colliding in a painterly mash-up. The subjects are varied and familiar–landscapes, hockey players, icons of Canada’s wilderness–but the rendering is always unique. As someone who has received no formal art training, Donald’s artistic choices are often surprisingly sophisticated. It would be easy to assume that the works are informed by some knowledge of abstraction or the expressionist tradition, but it is more likely Donald’s innate sense for design and aesthetics. In fact, he doesn’t even work from photographic references; every image comes entirely from his memory and imagination. To look at these paintings and drawings is to understand something of his personal vision, and to see and feel the sheer joy of creative expression through art.
Leanne was born in Edmonton, but grew up in Thunderchild First Nation. She’s lived in the Complex Needs Wing since December, and before that was in the women’s emergency shelter.
“They’re really nice here. The best part of living here is you have company, you can talk to almost everyone here, and the staff too,” says Leanne who has made a few good friends at The Lighthouse.
She enjoys coming to the dining hall for meals every day and confesses that her favourite is Fish and Chips, “their soup and sandwiches are really good too. I can load up on tomatoes.”
Leanne loves going to art class on Saturday mornings and participating in Bingo Night once a month. “I also like that there are church groups that come here around Christmas time, even a month before to sing Christmas songs. It’s very heartwarming,” says Leanne.
Recently, Leanne has been focusing on her fitness routine and taking advantage of the beautiful summer weather. “I go for walks and I’ve been losing weight. I lost fifteen pounds,” she says, and when a staff member compliments her on how good she looks, Leanne beams with pride.
When asked about the Metis Heritage pin she’s wearing on her dress, Leanne explains she got it at YXE Connects, an event held every May that gives vulnerable people in the community access to many programs and services all under one roof. She recalls, “It was really nice. The best part was they give you a gift bag. Inside there’s shampoo and conditioner and there’s this other gal I know who needed that this past week so I gave her mine.”
The staff at The Lighthouse are sad to say goodbye to Leanne, who has decided to move back home to Thunderchild this summer. She’s excited to live with her parents again, “they have cows and horses,” says Leanne, “and Mom is putting in a flower bed and garden. They have empty nest syndrome and they miss me.”
From all the staff at The Lighthouse, we wish Leanne the best with her move this month!
It’s been over three years since the Complex Needs Wing at The Lighthouse opened its doors to clients with mental health issues. The program has just added eight beds to the recently renovated Dubé Tower as part of the six month pilot project with the Health Region. New rooms are a welcome addition to those who need a safe place to stay in the city.
Mental illness is often an underlying cause of chronic homelessness, as many are faced with, “difficulty of various kinds in keeping their housing. Some end up getting kicked out of their accommodations due to their illness or addiction, or their needs are in excess of what their approved care home can provide,” says Dennis Bueckert, Director of Client Services.
The one year program is meant for individuals with a significant mental health issue and, “there can also be an addictions component to it in some cases. About two thirds of the folks up there have a combination of the two,” says Bueckert.
The unit is intended to be a transitional program to get people on the path to greater independence and long term housing. It operates with support from Saskatoon Health Region’s Mental Health and Addictions Services. Case Manager Kemi Bashorun explains, “The aim of the program is to help with the health, stability and independence of individual clients who are suffering from mental illness and addictions.”
Case Manager Kemi Bashorun
The process of admission begins with a referral from someone working with the potential client, such as their psychiatrist, community health nurse or social worker. Once the client’s needs are assessed and found appropriate for the program, an interview is organized between the client, their care worker, a Health Region representative and a member of the Lighthouse staff.
Bashorun emphasizes that they only accept people who are serious about committing to the program. “We don’t want someone who has been forced into the program. Don’t forget we give them autonomy to make choices and decisions. So they have to be able to say ‘Ok, I think that program will be suitable for me,” says Bashorun.
Successful clients are invited to move into their own private room in the Complex Needs Wing. Each room has its own bed, dresser and bathroom with a shower. Some people bring their own TVs or other furniture, and many go a long way in decorating their room. Meals are provided in the dining hall, and clients are encouraged to socialize with other residents.
A requirement of the service is taking part in daily activities. The Lighthouse offers various programs such as Games Night, People Skills and Recovery Group for those struggling with addictions. Clients may choose to be involved in programs at other organizations, “some of them, they go to Clothing Depot to volunteer, it’s so they have something to engage in,” says Bashorun.
The Complex Needs office
The Complex Needs office is on the first floor of the Dubé Supported Living Tower. It’s a small room with a horse stall door so staff can supervise clients taking their medication and interact with them throughout the day. Part of the treatment plan is for staff to be able to monitor their medication compliance. They make sure clients are taking their medication as prescribed and observe the effects. If staff see a deterioration in their mental state, they will liaise with their nurse or psychiatrist to alter the dosage or type of medication.
Clients are also encouraged to meet with a case manager regularly and discuss their progress. It gives them an opportunity to propose other forms of treatment, discuss resources or suggest adjustments to their medication that may be needed. According to Bashorun, the aim is to, “help stabilize them and help to promote independence. So what we’re trying to avoid is for them to relapse and have to go back to the hospital.”
A vital component to the program is establishing a relationship based on trust. Lighthouse staff engage with clients on a daily basis, “so they’ll know that we’re here to listen, we know where they’re coming from and empathize with them,” says Bashorun.
Jamie Johnson has been living in The Complex Needs Wing since last winter. She’s ten months clean of all substances and credits The Lighthouse with her sobriety. “They’re treating me really well,” says Johnson, “they look after my meds. I’m schizo affective and bi-polar, so I’m on medication for my mind and I’m on methadone for treating my drug habit.”
All rooms have a private bathroom with a shower
Once a client has completed nine months of the program, their case manager begins to prepare them to transition back into the community. They collaborate with their care worker to find them appropriate housing. Some clients move in with roommates or go to group homes, but many don’t want to leave.
“They really like it here, this is their home. They’re very stable and the option of leaving at the end of twelve months is difficult for them,” says Bashorun, “So we’re not really pushing them, but at the same time it’s like a baby step.” In those cases, staff work to place clients in the Supported Living Suites at The Lighthouse. Those rooms offer more independence without taking them away from their environment.
The Complex Needs Wing recently expanded from nine to seventeen rooms. Occupancy rates are high, running between 80-95%. Two case managers and four staff provide support for these clients.
Support Worker Adriana Krebsz is finishing her last shift in The Complex Needs Wing before moving to her new house and a job with the Health Region. “I was really happy here. When I was hired I planned to stay long, but we found a house we liked in Wynyard,” says Krebsz. Originally from Romania, Krebsz is a social worker and nurse with experience working with the elderly. “I’ll miss you,” says Bashorun, giving her a big hug.
Adriana and Kemi
Bashorun also moved to Canada with her family, and has been working at The Lighthouse for the past year and a half. Born in the UK, she grew up in Nigeria but returned to England for university. She worked as a dual diagnostic nurse in several different environments. “I’ve worked in in-patient psychiatry, and as an emergency nurse. I’ve worked in rehab centers, community drug and alcohol settings, and my last work was in prison corrections in London,” says Bashorun.
“The thing about The Lighthouse is this is a family kind of setting. So it’s not a tense environment, even though your work is so tense,” Bashorun says, “Even if you go out, the impression that you get from the community is, ‘Oh Lighthouse! How do you cope?’ Sometimes I just laugh and say, ‘You know what? We have people here that really need help and it’s somebody’s job to be there for them.”
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:
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.
“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.”
Cameco Community Kitchen has now been open for one month. It provides meals to the wider community twice a week. This video was filmed on the Kitchen’s opening day and highlights the need for s supper program and life skills classes that it will provide.
Cameco and The Lighthouse partnered together to provide a new kitchen to feed some of Saskatoon’s most vulnerable citizens. The Cameco Community Kitchen will open on Monday and Friday evenings.
“This kitchen will help provide an evening meal to those who are experiencing homelessness or limited resources and hopefully introduce them to our services,” said Don Windels, executive director of the Lighthouse.
“By inviting people in for a warm meal we will be able to get to know them and offer supports, before housing is lost. In addition, the kitchen will be used to teach cooking classes and life skills to community members to increase their self-sufficiency and independence.”
We are seeking volunteers on Mondays and Fridays from 5:00pm to 7:00pm to help prepare and serve the meals. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to help today.