The Saskatchewan government has revealed its plans to move certain services currently offered at Saskatoon’s Lighthouse Supported Living facility to other locations. This decision follows recent revelations about the use of shelter resources for personal loans by the head of the Lighthouse.
In an official statement, the government cited several concerns related to the Lighthouse, including issues with governance, management, financial controls, and safety concerns stemming from the concentration of services in a single location. As a response to these concerns, the Saskatchewan government intends to transition services to other partner organizations.
The Lighthouse is a nonprofit, charitable organization that provides supported housing and services to vulnerable populations. The organization operates a shelter in Saskatoon and formerly operated one in North Battleford. Additionally, it runs a subsidiary called Blue Mountain Adventure Park Inc., which operates an outdoor adventure park near North Battleford.
While the government has announced its intention to transition services, it has not provided a fixed date for the transition, emphasizing the need to ensure that clients are well-supported during this process. The government has pledged to collaborate with community partners and organizations to ensure that essential services continue without disruption.
Saskatchewan’s Minister of Social Services, Gene Makowsky, clarified that the “sensible transition” will involve moving the Lighthouse’s independent living facility and stabilization unit, which have been receiving operational funding from the ministry. However, the housing aspect of the operations will remain with the Lighthouse.
The government also announced its plans to relocate the emergency shelter services offered by the Lighthouse to the Saskatoon Tribal Council’s health center. This, however, appeared to be news to Chief Mark Arcand, tribal chief at Saskatoon Tribal Council, who stated that nothing had been confirmed regarding the transition.
Chief Arcand expressed openness to the government’s announcement but emphasized the need for the correct support and services in place to facilitate the transition. He mentioned that the STC health center is already operating at full capacity, with 70 to 75 beds per night, and closing the Lighthouse would create challenges for the community in terms of homelessness.
Describing the decision as “a positive step in the right direction,” Chief Arcand noted that the STC has been working on a new facility to expand the health center away from downtown. The renovated facility will eventually provide around 110 to 120 beds, along with essential amenities such as a professional kitchen, laundry services, and improved shower facilities.
As the transition unfolds, collaboration between the government, community organizations, and the Lighthouse itself will be crucial to ensure the continuity of vital services and to address the homelessness challenges facing Saskatoon.
Please note that this article provides an overview of the Saskatchewan government’s decision to transition services from the Lighthouse Supported Living facility, but additional details and developments are expected as the transition process progresses.