The board of the Southwest Youth Emergency Shelter Inc. has provided a Letter to the Editor to explain the situation regarding the financial shortfall which has resulted in the closure of the doors of Dorie’s House for a period of time.
The full letter is as follows:
This letter is written to provide further update to the community about the status of the Southwest Youth Emergency Shelter. We are a non-profit corporation and charitable organization operating a youth emergency shelter in Swift Current, known as Dorie’s House.
Dorie’s House opened in January 2017 and youth and their families became aware of our facility as an option when they were experiencing a residence crisis. Through the spring and summer we experienced an increase in residents and at this point we have helped more than 25 youth and had over 500 bed stays in the facility. With the start of the school year, there was an increased need for the shelter once again and our eight bed facility has been full to capacity on some nights. Local youth, who had nowhere to go with very few options, have been able to discover that they have a place in the community and a future. They have reconnected with family, enrolled in school and found jobs. In addition, we’ve had more than 20 contacts with youth that did not result in a bed stay. These youth came to our facility for various reasons, and they received support and assistance in reuniting them with family.
Dorie’s House has given hope to youth and families in Southwest Saskatchewan.
Our Board is extremely grateful to the community and proud of the support that Dorie’s House has had in the community. Unfortunately, we have run into significant financial shortfall. After numerous meetings, applications and requests for funding, Dorie’s House has not yet received government assistance and has been operating entirely on community support. As a result, we find ourselves in a position requiring us to close our doors for a period of time.
The community came together in a remarkable way to build Dorie’s House and we have a strong dedicated staff willing to provide support for youth in the Southwest. We continue to receive assistance from the community, with individuals and groups providing significant donations of household supplies, food and other needs. The community has done their part and families have come to us for help, indicating a substantial need for the facility. We believe it is now time for the government to provide their support. We have always wanted to work with the government to provide support for youth and we remain committed as ever to that goal.
The problem of youth homelessness has been in our community for decades, but we came together because we felt there was a real opportunity to make positive changes. Rather than go straight to the government expecting a quick fix, we engaged our community and partners to develop a long term solution that we built right in the southwest. We believe this is timely, as we now have a government in place that will support a community-based initiative and we truly hope they will step up to the plate.
Our board and staff have done extensive background work, studying the best housing options and developing safe and sensible policies and manuals for Dorie’s House. We have spent countless hours in the community talking about the need and building consensus to support the facility. We have built this project to serve youth and families in the Southwest, and are now reaching out to ask for your support and advocacy.
We will continue to work with government to seek long term funding for this worthwhile community based project. We are asking community members and partners to please continue to support the project and we will remain committed to making sure your efforts will serve to help youth in our community.
Robert J. Hale – Chair, Southwest Youth Emergency Shelter Inc.