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Mayor Clark: From shelters to stable housing units

Clark is thankful for facilities like the Saskatoon Tribal Council's wellness centre.

SASKATOON — Mayor Charlie Clark said they are going to make sure the city will have the programs needed to help the people that are expected to be displaced if The Lighthouse ever shuts down its operations.

The provincial government last July said they are planning to seize funding for The Lighthouse in Saskatoon, a facility that has a community kitchen and emergency shelter when weather hits extreme levels among its services.

Clark said The Lighthouse is going through a turbulent time as the provincial government has also announced their desire to close the shelter, which provides emergency and temporary beds to more than 200 homeless people in the city.

However, he assured that even if The Lighthouse shuts down its operations, the city will have the needed programs to help the homeless and other people who are affected by inflation.

“What we want is to make sure that there are programs in place that can help meet the needs of people who are struggling in our streets. We’re facing a crisis in homelessness. It’s important that there be accountability and clear reporting of those programs,” said Clark.

“But also, we need a continuum of care that can effectively move people from shelters into stable housing into the kind of treatment programs and support programs that people need and ensure that we don't have people just cycling in and out of the street.”

If The Lighthouse shuts down, other temporary shelter facilities like the Salvation Army on Avenue C South and the Saskatoon Tribal Council’s Emergency Wellness Centre downtown would expect a higher number of people seeking their help, especially this coming winter.

He said that it is not only the job of the City of Saskatoon to deliver programs that would help homeless people, but it is also important to have other social services available to those who will need them.

“But it is very important to have those programs in place and even with the announced closure of those beds, there is a transition to effective service provision,” said Clark, who thanked STC for also stepping up in setting up their own centre.

“The [STC] has stepped up and opened the [emergency] wellness centre and we are working with them on expanding the ability to provide those services in a more permanent location,” said Clark.

“We know that's going to be part of the solution. I believe we still have to all work together to make sure that those beds are in place and those programs in place to move people from shelters into more stable permanent housing.”