‘It is a calmer environment’: Saskatoon Tribal Council opens new emergency shelter

The Saskatoon Tribal Council’s (STC) Wellness Centre has opened its doors in Fairhaven and is nearly at capacity.

The facility has 106 beds, and there are currently 97 people staying at shelter.

Mark, who would not disclose his last name, is staying at the Centre.

“It’s beautifully laid out. We have everything we need,” he said.

The new facility includes four rooms, one for men, women, families and overflow, with about 30 beds each. It also has two bathrooms for men and women, rooms providing entertainment, a dining area, laundry service and showers.

In total, more than 60 staff members work a 24-hour cycle, including a counsellor, a paramedic and 20 peacekeepers.

Relatives, as Chief Arcand refers to people using the facility, will be given a bin to secure their stuff.

“It’s a bigger facility than downtown. It’s a calmer atmosphere,” said Chief Arcand.

“Safety is a priority. Security is a priority, but also feeding people”.

For exits, the building uses a one-way in and one-way out system.

STC plans to expand the Fairhaven location to include more storage and office space for social services and renovate the pods to make them more individualized as soon as the spring.

DOWNTOWN LOCATION CLOSING

With one door opening, another is closing, as the STC’s downtown location is set to shut down.

According to Chief Arcand, with its current funding, it can only be open from 10 p.m. to 10 a.m.

“We shouldn’t be kicking people out during the day and then telling them to come back,” said Arcand.

Arcand is calling on more funding for the downtown centre to help keep it functioning 24 hours a day.

“We need to feed people when they’re in our facility. We need to take care of them.”

Arcand says 20 people stayed at the location on Thursday night, while the Fairhaven location is almost at capacity.

“That’s the question: where they’re going to go? Because I think the whole system that they decide in regards to these warm-up shelters is wrong.”

According to Arcand, the downtown facility is set to close on Sunday, December 4th. 

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