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STC centre to help people the best they can, says Chief Arcand

Plans to help in place as winter approaches.

SASKATOON — Saskatoon Tribal Council Chief Mark Arcand vowed the organization is prepared to assist the people that would be displaced once The Lighthouse shuts down its operations after the provincial government decided to stop funding some of the emergency shelter’s services.

The Lighthouse provides emergency and temporary shelter to more than 200 homeless people in the city. Their shutdown could affect other facilities like the Salvation Army on Avenue C South and the STC’s Emergency Wellness Centre downtown.

Arcand said The Lighthouse’s past executive director made some bad decisions and he is expecting an increase in the number of people who would seek shelter at their centre, especially this coming winter.

“They [Lighthouse] did some things that caused them to have this knee-jerk reaction, which is the provincial government taking away their funding. If this was your own business, I don't think that would be acceptable to you … ,” said Arcand.

“We're [STC Wellness Centre] going to pick up the slack to the best we can to help people because, at the end of the day, people come first. Whether it's homelessness, justice, or incarceration, we're going to do what we can to support people.”

He added that he is hoping that within a month or less that they can identify another location and have the needed support systems ready once winter begins later this year.

Arcand said they are always up to the challenge since their priority is helping people, Indigenous or non-Indigenous.

“We do it for the right reasons and it is going to be handled right. You've seen the investment the provincial government has made with the [STC], which is enormous. Our results are helping people. We need to focus on making a difference in people's lives,” said Arcand.

“I'm always worried about people. It doesn't matter if you're Indigenous, or non-Indigenous. We help everyone and that number is growing. It's growing rapidly. The cost of food, the cost of housing, rent, all of that stuff is going up and it’s affecting a lot of people’s lives.”

He added the current economic situation is unfortunate as the rising prices of basic commodities had some people choosing between paying power, paying rent, buying food or things their children need. This, however, won’t stop them from helping people.

“Am I worried? Absolutely. But am I going to be shying away from helping more people? The answer is no. We're going to do it. We can find a location if there are other locations in the city that people want to help us with, we'll gladly take that on,” said Arcand.

“We will help as many people as we can, that are homeless and make an effort to keep them safe this winter and for the future days to come.”