Saskatoon Tribal Council facility to house the final 31 shelter beds remaining at The Lighthouse

All emergency shelter beds will be moved out of The Lighthouse Supported Living next month.  (Yasmine Ghania/CBC - image credit)
All emergency shelter beds will be moved out of The Lighthouse Supported Living next month. (Yasmine Ghania/CBC - image credit)

The remaining 31 shelter beds at The Lighthouse Supported Living will be transferred to a facility operated by the Saskatoon Tribal Council (STC), the Ministry of Social Services announced Friday.

In June, the ministry announced that it would be transferring all 61 shelter beds out of the downtown facility after it was discovered its leader had used shelter funds for personal loans. The first 30 beds were transferred to the Salvation Army in September.

"Homelessness is a complex issue and requires multiple partners to come together," Gene Makowsky, Social Services minister and minister responsible for Saskatchewan Housing Corporation, said in a news release.

"This final stage of the transition of emergency shelter spaces will occur gradually during November as the new building becomes operational and with client needs in mind."

As well, the provincial government announced that the STC's emergency wellness centre would be moving to southwest Saskatoon.

The centre, currently located in an unused City of Saskatoon office building, has been criticized by some local businesses who complain about increased garbage and crime in the area.

STC Chief Mark Arcand has repeatedly said he did not want to locate the wellness centre in the downtown, but could not find any other suitable locations that would rent to him. The centre was set up to address an increase in the number of homeless people in the city as well as concerns about people living on the street in the winter.

City council changed zoning rules for the downtown to make an exception for the wellness centre after a request from the STC.

The wellness centre will be moved to a Saskatchewan Housing Corporation building and will be leased by the tribal council.

'Significant issue'

"Homelessness remains a significant issue in Saskatoon and the Saskatoon Tribal Council is proud to partner with the province as we try to help even more community members," Arcand said in a news release.

"As a wellness centre, the Fairmont facility will use the holistic approach to services and healing of individuals we embrace as our relatives."

Arcand says the centre will offer health supports, as well as life skills programs and mental health and addictions counsellors.

In November, the STC will work with the Saskatchewan Housing Corp. to ensure the building will be ready to house people when winter arrives.