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Thursday, December 9, 2021

Battlefords’ Lighthouse emergency shelter shuttering its doors

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The Lighthouse serving the Battlefords will no longer operate an emergency shelter program come April 1.

In a press release, the organization said the decision comes after substantial funding changes.

In response, the Ministry of Social Services said it hasn’t stopped provincial funding to the shelter, and has actually increased funding to help offset issues that have come to light during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have met with the North Battleford Lighthouse emergency shelter since they learned of the loss of their current federal government funding through the Reaching Home Program. This has included meetings with Indigenous Services Canada officials to determine what other federal government funding may be available to them to meet shortfalls,” Ministry of Social Services spokesperson Leya Moore said.

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However, provincial opposition leader Ryan Meili thinks there’s more the province can do.

“I’ve had a chance to visit the Lighthouse in North Battleford on a couple of occasions and they do really great work in a city that’s been hit hard,” Meili said.

“I’d call on the province to really come forward and bring the funding necessary to keep the Lighthouse open in North Battleford.”

The Lighthouse purchased the Reclaim Outreach Centre in North Battleford over five years ago, opening its doors in 2015.

While the shelter closes, the Lighthouse said it will remain committed to the mission of ending chronic homelessness in North Battleford. It said it will continue exploring emergency shelter funding sources and partnerships. Transitional and supported housing programs will still operate.

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© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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