Run­ners help to raise funds for Dorie’s House

Prairie Post (East Edition) - - NEWS - By Matthew Lieben­berg mlieben­[email protected]­

Par­tic­i­pants in the 5th an­nual South­west Run for Shelter helped to raise funds in sup­port of an emer­gency shelter for home­less youth in south­west Saskatchew­an.

The run took place along the scenic Chi­nook Park­way in Swift Cur­rent, June 8. There were 38 entrants, who had a choice of run­ning a full or half marathon, or oth­er­wise par­tic­i­pate over shorter dis­tances of two, five or 10 kilo­me­tres.

The event is or­ga­nized by South­west Youth Emer­gency Shelter (YES) and raised over $3,800. All pro­ceeds will make a dif­fer­ence to achieve the goal to re-open Dorie’s House, an emer­gency shelter for home­less youth.

Dorie’s House was open for eight months dur­ing 2017 as a pi­lot project to high­light the need for such a service in south­west Saskatchew­an. The doors of the eight-bed fa­cil­ity had to be closed due to lack of fund­ing and South­west YES, a non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tion, has been try­ing since then to se­cure pro­vin­cial fund­ing for Dorie’s House.

Shaun Hanna, the South­west YES board pres­i­dent, said people are still show­ing their sup­port for Dorie’s House.

“It’s been now a year and a half since we wound down our pi­lot project and we’re still re­ceiv­ing do­na­tions every month, just people spon­ta­neously com­ing up and say­ing this is still an im­por­tant cause for us,” he mentioned. “So it’s pretty hum­bling to see that. That this is still very much an is­sue that’s on top of mind for people.”

This sup­port makes it pos­si­ble for South­west YES to con­tinue to pro­vide a help­ing hand in the com­mu­nity.

“Even though we’re not op­er­at­ing at full ca­pac­ity in the sense of tak­ing in youth, we’re still be­ing able to help in ways that count,” he said. “Food that gets do­nated to us, cloth­ing that gets do­nated to us, we’re still able to help people with those do­na­tions.”

Ac­cord­ing to Hanna the ques­tion of how close they are to re­open­ing Dorie’s House is a com­pli­cated one to an­swer.

South­west YES has been mak­ing con­nec­tions with national or­ga­ni­za­tions that are work­ing to ad­dress youth home­less­ness. It is in dis­cus­sions with or­ga­ni­za­tions such as A Way Home Canada, a national coali­tion, about car­ry­ing out a point in time count in south­west Saskatchew­an to up­date the sta­tis­tics with re­gard to the need for a shelter for home­less youth in the re­gion.

“So there are a lot of things go­ing on be­hind the scenes, which is not nec­es­sar­ily ex­cit­ing news, but im­por­tant to get done,” he said.

He noted that South­west YES has al­ways been com­mit­ted to mak­ing sure the com­mu­nity has a stake in the fu­ture of the or­ga­ni­za­tion, be­cause youth home­less­ness is a com­mu­nal prob­lem that will re­quire com­mu­nal so­lu­tions.

“As im­por­tant as it is to have part­ner­ships with say the Min­istry of So­cial Ser­vices, the Min­istry of Health, the Min­istry of Jus­tice, it is also im­por­tant for our com­mu­nity to have skin in the game when it comes to solv­ing this prob­lem, be­cause it re­ally is a com­mu­nal prob­lem,” he said. “It’s bet­ter to have com­mu­nal so­lu­tions to com­mu­nal prob­lems. So while we do need that sort of block fund­ing to help pay for things like youth work­ers, over­head cost of the shelter, it’s also im­por­tant for us to have sus­tain­abil­ity.”

The doors of Dorie’s House was closed af­ter the pi­lot project to make sure the long-term sus­tain­abil­ity of the ini­tia­tive will not be com­pro­mised. Fundrais­ing ini­tia­tives such as the Run for Shelter will help South­west YES to work to­wards that sus­tain­abil­ity goal.

“When we wound down our pi­lot project a cou­ple of years ago, we did that in or­der to make sure that our nest egg was se­cure so that this would be a sus­tain­able project,” he said. “What we’re look­ing at doing is build­ing ba­si­cally a trust fund so that in the fu­ture the shelter can be op­er­ated on its own. There’s al­ways go­ing to be spon­sor­ship in­ter­ven­tion for sure, but that sus­tain­abil­ity piece is re­ally im­por­tant.

So the money raised from this is ba­si­cally go­ing to that trust fund to op­er­at­ing and fu­ture costs, which is ac­tu­ally where all the do­na­tions go to cur­rently.”

Photo by Matthew Lieben­berg

Run­ners com­pet­ing over the 10 kilo­me­tre, half and full marathon dis­tances sprint away from the start­ing line.

Photos by Matthew Lieben­berg

Above left: Kayla My­ers of the Run for Shelter or­ga­niz­ing com­mit­tee gives some direc­tions to par­tic­i­pants be­fore the race start for the 10 kilo­me­tre, half and full marathon dis­tances, June 8. Above right: Shaun Hanna, the South­west YES board pres­i­dent, speaks be­fore the race start for the 10 kilo­me­tre, half and full marathon dis­tances, June 8.

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