After months of uncertainty, Regina’s houseless are finally moving from the city’s warming bus to an indoor shelter.
Bernadette Ludikowski has warmed up in the bus a couple of times and is looking forward to the change.
“I think having a place for the homeless to go is great,” she told CTV News.
A temporary emergency shelter will open at the end of the month inside the former YMCA downtown.
According to the city, the shelter will have 40 spaces and will open Jan. 30.
“We will be able to provide in a better way, cultural and spiritual services, mental health therapists, addictions specialists,” Erica Beaudin, the executive director of Regina Treaty Status Indian Services, explained.
It took half the winter to find a place because of hesitancy from landlords. Finally a group of doctors who purchased the former YMCA agreed to a short term lease.
“The Nest’s vision and mission really is to bridge that gap between health care and food and housing and help for the community so when this opportunity came up, it just made sense for us,” Neha Jain, a spokesperson for the Nest Health Centre, said.
The three month operation will cost about $900,000. The City of Regina will pay for rent and renovations amounting to $500,000, while the province will handle operational costs.
“Staff, food, security, the wraparound supports that are required that are being proposed and being done by our partners,” Gene Makowsky, minister of social services, explained.
Groups that work with the houseless, such as the Warriors of Hope, welcome the temporary solution.
“We’re excited to hear it. Better late than never but we’ll support it in any capacity we can,” spokesperson Shylo Stevenson said.
“We’ll reach out to the agencies that are running it and Warriors of Hope will fully support and do what we can to make sure that our relatives are looked after properly.”
The temporary arrangement for the shelter is set to last for three months.
Planning is already underway for a year around shelter so that they can be a smooth transition from one facility directly to the next.