Safe Shel­ter ben­e­fits from ex­ten­sive ren­o­va­tions

The Southwest Booster - - NEWS - SCOTT AN­DER­SON SOUTH­WEST BOOSTER

A se­ries of much needed ren­o­va­tions have pro­vided safer and more wel­com­ing sur­round­ings at the South­west Safe Shel­ter.

A grand re-open­ing event was held at the Shel­ter on Fri­day, cel­e­brat­ing the com­ple­tion of $236,000 in ren­o­va­tions cost shared by the fed­eral and pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ments through the Canadasaskatchewan In­vest­ment in Af­ford­able Hous­ing Agree­ment (So­cial In­fra­struc­ture Fund).

Heather Len­nox, Ex­ec­u­tive Direc­tor of South­west Cri­sis Ser­vices, ex­plained the ren­o­va­tion was able to ad­dress a few pri­or­ity im­prove­ment ar­eas at the fa­cil­ity, in­clud­ing a fire sprin­kler sys­tem which has been on their wish list for over five years. They ap­proached Sask Hous­ing about what op­tions they could pur­sue, and fol­low­ing their as­sess­ment of the fa­cil­ity they ap­plied for fund­ing to make those en­hance­ments.

“The idea started re­ally with the sprin­kler. That’s where we started. We were try­ing to in­crease the se­cu­rity of our space, and then it kind of evolved and de­vel­oped from there.”

The ren­o­va­tion work is high­lighted by an en­larged kitchen space, an im­proved se­cu­rity and first sprin­kler sys­tem, a wheel­chair ramp and ac­ces­si­ble bed­room and bath­room, along with a new fur­nace, hot wa­ter heater, and en­ergy ef­fi­cient light­ing.

“That kitchen is ab­so­lutely amaz­ing. That area has made our house a hub, some­where for peo­ple to re­lax, de­brief, con­nect with oth­ers. The kitchen has made our fa­cil­ity. So awe­some,” Len­nox said.

The height­ened se­cu­rity and fire sprin­kler sys­tems are also ben­e­fi­cial.

“It’s in­cred­i­bly im­por­tant for us to make sure that our peo­ple that are stay­ing and try­ing to re­group and reestab­lish their lives, feel se­cure and safe. And so it’s our pri­mary thing to help in­di­vid­u­als that are stay­ing here. It’s im­por­tant that we keep those in­di­vid­u­als se­cure while they are here, and our staff se­cure.”

Len­nox was also pleased they ad­dressed ac­ces­si­bil­ity con­cerns at the Shel­ter.

“We didn’t have avail­abil­ity of ac­ces­si­bil­ity be­fore. So we now have a ramp, we now have a bed­room and a bath­room that some­body who does have ac­ces­si­bil­ity con­cerns can ac­cess. It was some­thing that we couldn’t even han­dle be­fore. We would look for dif­fer­ent so­lu­tions.”

Swift Cur­rent MLA Everett Hind­ley said the pro­vin­cial govern­ment in­vest­ment in the ren­o­va­tions re­flect the im­por­tance of pro­vid­ing se­cure hous­ing for vul­ner­a­ble women and chil­dren.

“We need to be able to sup­port ini­tia­tives like the South­west Safe Shel­ter,” he said.

“It’s an amaz­ing build­ing and it’s an amaz­ing or­ga­ni­za­tion. Be­cause when you think about it, ideally we wouldn’t have a place like this. We shouldn’t have to have a Safe Shel­ter. But, thank­fully be­cause of some hard-work­ing and ded­i­cated and car­ing in­di­vid­u­als, we do have a place like this. For a brief pe­riod of time folks when they’re in times of need, women and chil­dren, they have a place where they can be safe. They can be taken care of.”

Dur­ing the six month pe­riod of April 1 to Septem­ber 30, a to­tal of 60 women and chil­dren stayed at the Shel­ter. This to­tal is more than all of 2014, and al­most as many as they housed dur­ing all of 2016.

South­west Cri­sis Ser­vices Inc. Board Chair­per­son Ted Wallin vis­its with Swift Cur­rent MLA Everett Hind­ley in the newly ren­o­vated kicked of the South­west Safe Shel­ter dur­ing Fri­day’s grand re-open­ing cel­e­bra­tion.

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