City officials visit Lighthouse

By John Cairns, The Battlefords New-Optimist, March 21, 2014 - A number of civic and other officials were in Saskatoon last week as they toured the Lighthouse. The Lighthouse is Saskatoon’s supported living, and emergency and affordable housing facility.

Mayor Ian Hamilton toured the facility along with City Manager Jim Puffalt, City Planner Tim LaFreniere, Sheldon Gattinger, chair of the pocket housing initiative in the city, and Neil Sasakamoose of BATC CDC.

He noted there were housing opportunities there as well as programming that North Battleford officials were interested in knowing more about.

Among the things offered there was a wet/dry emergency shelter. The Lighthouse had partnered with police and health officials to take in and assist people who were in intoxicated states and house them overnight.

Counsellors are then the first people to greet them in the morning, Hamilton noted, who can then talk to them about alternatives and options. “These are a few things that we saw that were very encouraging,” said Hamilton.

Puffalt noted there were three or four people that have come off the street and are working for the Lighthouse now.

“That’s a huge success story that we really want to try and emulate,” said Puffalt, who cited the “holistic” approach of the Lighthouse in addressing the homeless issue.

Councillors expressed the desire to follow what has been successful elsewhere in addressing the homeless issue, and replicate that locally. LaFreniere pointed to the significant community partnerships developed by the Lighthouse and expressed a desire to look into ways to do something along the same lines in North Battleford.

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