The Lighthouse Stabilization Unit is a 38-bed dorm designed for men and women who need a place to stay and are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Saskatoon already has a brief detox centre, but space is limited, and it’s mainly designed for people who need medical intervention. The new shelter is for people who are homeless and may be under the influence – but don’t need medical attention.
This pilot program is being funded by the federal government through the Homelessness Partnering Strategy and through the Saskatoon Health Region.
Designed to take the pressure off of police cells, emergency rooms and Brief and Social Detox, Chief Clive Weighill supports the need for a Stabilization Unit in Saskatoon. “It could mean up to two or three-thousand fewer people coming into our detention cells at the Saskatoon Police Service,” said Saskatoon Police Chief Clive Weighill. “We’ve had people that we’ve housed 80, 90 times within a year.”
Clients are not allowed to bring alcohol or drugs into the shelter – but it does give them a safe place to stay.
“We know homelessness is often connected with mental illness, and substance abuse,” said Tracy Muggli, head of Mental Health and Addiction services for the Saskatoon Health Region. “Working with the Lighthouse will help reduce health disparity for these vulnerable members of the community.”
Stabilization Unit Case Workers help people stabilize their lives, and move into housing.
SHIP Released an analysis of the Stabilization Unit in March of 2014. Their findings are as follows:
Latest data from Lighthouse reporting revealed that there is an imminent rise in the number of both new clients and unique clients at their
Stabilization Shelter facility. Early on in the project, it was found that longer hours of operations would aid in solving safety issues for both the
individual caused and the community. An increase in HPS funding assisted with increasing the hours of the facility from 12 to 16 hours every day.
Since the opening of Pilot project (July 2013), The Stabilization Shelter, the following benefits have been achieved:
• Harm reduction (off the street and into a form of housing, reduced use of substances, safer use of needles, receiving medical treatments, accessing adequate nutrition and food);
• Housing Placement (in emergency bed instead of the street);
• Accessed Supports (Income support program & subsides);
• Accessed Treatment (Detox, treatment for addictions & health worker involvement);
• Improved Life Skills (problem solving and emotional coping, managing stress and anger);
• Stabilization (not using emergency services and regularly attend support services);
• This permanent location is able to serve more with a greater impact;
• Will help reduce the use of substance;
• Once trust is established clients more readily access classes, housing, treatment, life skills and slowly transit to the employment market.
Project Overall Status – Sustained Demand
Comparison over the quarter indicates a 58 percent rise in unique clients who used the stabilization shelter as well as 2.1% increments from
intake directly referred by the police and EMS. These results are emphasizing that the need is greater than originally expected.
According to recent monthly data, the number of unique clients and beds used are largely positively correlated. Even though the new shelter users dropped after its peak in the month of August at 84, the consecutive months is indicative of an average of 45 clients per month. The demand for total beds used remained favorable with a 55.8 percent growth reported over the first month. This increase is largely underpinned by the opening of first of its kind unique stabilization shelter facility to address the needs of the community.
In light of these figures, it is noted that there has been an increase in the number of people staying in the shelter month over month and this is conducive to reducing pressure on emergency services such as police, ambulance, EMS and hospital emergency rooms.