Global News- Nov 20, 2015 SASKATOON – A $4 million expansion at a busy downtown homeless shelter is nearing completion, eventually scheduled to house 38 beds for intoxicated people. The Lighthouse is adding another 18 beds to the 20 already installed in the centre’s overnight stabilization unit.
“You’re going to see some level of need continuing to increase with the change of weather. As it gets colder, people need places to stay,” said Dave Thiessen, general manager of The Lighthouse Supported Living Inc.
Presently, staff have turned people away at night because of high traffic at the facility. About 230 people use The Lighthouse’s housing services every day.
The Government of Saskatchewan contributed $1.5 million to the expansion, along with $126,000 dollars from the City of Saskatoon. Contributions also came in from the federal government’s Homelessness Partnering Strategy and private donations.
“It means that we’re not going to get calls for people that are left out in the cold and trying to find them a decent place to stay for the night, whether they have addiction issues or they’re just homeless,” said Chief Clive Weighill of the Saskatoon Police Service.
Some of the funding is also being used to renovate spaces for 70 people housed in the Dubé Lighthouse, which helps clients with complex needs including mental illness.
Upon completion, the shelter’s wellness centre will have spaces for people to meet with counselors, create art, take classes and receive physical activity.
“I just see the opportunity for individuals to be treated with respect and dignity,” Thiessen said.
Construction is scheduled for completion in early December.