Métis Nation–Saskatchewan steps in to keep North Battleford shelter open
The Metis Nation-Saskatchewan office in Saskatoon is pictured Aug. 18, 2020. (Creeson Agecoutay/CTV Saskatoon)
SASKATOON -- Métis Nation–Saskatchewan (MN-S) says it will provide funding to the North Battleford Lighthouse Supported Living emergency shelter.
“The homeless are the most susceptible when it comes to COVID-19 and with no other apparent homeless shelters in the Battleford region, MN–S will take up the challenge and fund the 37- bed facility,” MN-S Housing Minister Ryan Carriere said in a news release.
“Discussions are also underway to determine a path toward more substantial, community funding partners that could see a shelter operate indefinitely.”
The shelter was set to close April 1 due to a lack of funding, Lighthouse Supported Living executive director Don Windels previously told CTV News.
Twenty-two part-time and full-time staff received lay-off notices on Feb. 26.
The shelter depended on around $500,000 in core funding from the Provincial Metis Housing Corporation (PMHC), which directs cash from the federal Reaching Home program.
The PMHC is instead prioritizing capital spending for housing in the north and believes shelters should be the province’s responsibility, Windels said.
“MN-S recognizes the need for housing often becomes entangled in bureaucracy at the expense of those most at risk. MN–S sees the urgent need for these citizens within the Battleford region and will utilize emergency COVID money to ensure they don’t fall through the cracks especially at a time like this,” MN–S Housing Director Christena Konrad said in the release.
MN-S says it has also entered into broader discussions with the Battleford Agency Tribal Council (BATC) to look at ways to address homelessness.