Safe Shelter benefits from extensive renovations
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.