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Coldest Night of the Year raises $30,000!

Coldest Night of the Year was an amazing day! Thank you to everyone who participated in The Battlefords Coldest Night of The Year walk! Whether you walked, volunteered, or donated, the community of The Battlefords made the day successful!!


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Thank you to our corporate sponsors Fortress Windows and Doors, Fishers Pharmacy, Discovery Co-Op, Bee-J’a Office Plus, and North Battleford Hyundai.
We surpassed our goal of $25,000, with a total just over $30,000!!! It was so encouraging to see so many community members out for the walk. We had 153 people participate yesterday!

On top of the money the community raise, the City of North Battleford provided a matching gift of $25,000 bring the total to $55,000!!Screen Shot 2016-02-24 at 9.03.31 AM

The heart of North Battleford continues to shine through! We are so grateful as we continue to work together to help the hungry, homeless and hurting in our community.

Lighthouse One Year Anniversary!

The Lighthouse Serving The Battlefords is celebrating one year being open today!
Screen Shot 2016-02-04 at 12.06.15 PMA few details from our 1st year. Around 2200 meals are served each month to the community. Over 400 different people used the emergency shelter, with just over 60 of those people being children, for a total of over 5000 bed stays. We helped 32 people with some of the highest need find housing with ongoing support through the Indian Metis Friendship Centre.

Screen Shot 2016-02-04 at 12.06.33 PMA huge THANK YOU to BATC CDC, Homelessness Partnership Strategy, the City of North Battleford and everyone from the community who has volunteered and supported the shelter.

We would also be so thankful, if to help celebrate our one year anniversary, you would walk with us or donate towards our first official fundraiser, the Coldest Night of the Year walk taking place on Feb 20th.
750_4244Donate online at All donations raised help support work in the Battlefords!
Thank you to the agencies and individuals that remain dedicated to help us serve The Battlefords hungry, homeless, and hurting.

North Battleford Lighthouse helps the homeless, hungry

More from Andrea Hill, Saskatoon StarPhoenix

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Caitlin Glencross doesn’t turn people away.

The men, women and children who cross the threshold of the Lighthouse Supported Living Centre that she runs in North Battleford often have nowhere else to turn. All are homeless. Many are hungry and dirty. Some are drunk.

All are offered food, shelter, showers and laundry at the downtown North Battleford centre. If there isn’t enough room in the dorms, bedrolls are assembled in the dining room.

During the year since the North Battleford Lighthouse opened last January, more than 500 people have spent at least one night at the centre. More than 21,000 hot meals have been served.

“Whatever the gap is, we try to fill it,” Glencross said.

Glencross was working at The Lighthouse in Saskatoon nearly two years ago when North Battleford city officials toured the facility and proclaimed they wanted a similar shelter in their city. At the time, no facility provided continuous shelter or three meals a day in North Battleford.

“It was definitely a much rougher lifestyle for some of our clients,” Glencross said. “There were a lot of people that were going hungry.”

With funding from the federal and provincial governments and the Battlefords Agency Tribal Chiefs Community Development Corporation, The Lighthouse purchased a building in downtown North Battleford in the summer of 2014. After months of renovations, it opened in late January 2015.

A year later, Glencross said she can’t imagine North Battleford without it.

“I don’t know where all of these people in the community would go,” she said.

Demand has been so great that the shelter has had to increase the number of beds. It now has 45 and can still be filled to capacity, especially on cold nights.

Securing the money to keep the shelter functioning is an ongoing challenge, however.

DeeAnn Mercier, communications director with the Saskatoon Lighthouse, said both the Saskatoon and North Battleford locations struggle to obtain necessary funding, much of which comes from grants that may not be available the following year. This year, in addition to operational costs, money is needed to fix the leaky roof of the North Battleford shelter.

Despite the “great need” to open more Lighthouse shelters throughout the province to house and feed vulnerable people, there are no plans to open another location.

“We definitely have our hands full,” Mercier said.

When Glencross was offered the opportunity to head up the North Battleford Lighthouse, she was cautious. The city is known for having topped Statistics Canada’s crime severity index for cities with a population over 10,000 since the index’s inception in 2009.

But her experiences in the city have been nothing but positive, Glencross said.

It’s difficult to quantify the effect the Lighthouse has had on North Battleford crime, but Battlefords RCMP Insp. John Sutherland said anecdotally, it has reduced calls for police service because people who are intoxicated now have somewhere to go.

“That person doesn’t end up incarcerated, which really isn’t where they belong,” he said.

Many people end up getting off the streets entirely. During the last 12 months, Glencross said she has seen people who were on the streets for years moved into affordable housing.

“Just being able to come in and have a warm place, and have a bed, be fed, treated with dignity and respect, we’ve seen an improvement in a lot of these people’s lives,” she said. “I’ve seen people turn their lives around, I’ve seen people get the help they need, get stabilized.”

Some of those people will be back at The Lighthouse on Jan. 26, when the organization celebrates its first anniversary.




Original Article Posted Here.

Lighthouse manager sees supported living as part of five-year plan

The manager of The Lighthouse Serving the Battlefords, the community’s permanent, year-round homeless shelter, sees a need in North Battleford that so far no one is interested in filling.

Establishing a supported-living program is on Caitlin Glencross’s five-year plan.Screen Shot 2015-12-11 at 12.55.34 PM

A mandate of The Lighthouse, in addition to providing emergency shelter to approximately 30 people per night, is to help clients find housing, but in some cases it’s nearly impossible.

“We have people we will probably never find housing for because they are not stable,” said Glencross during an open house at the shelter Saturday. “They can’t live on their own. That’s a gap in this community.”

There is a way to fill that gap, however, she said.

“It’s called supported living. We have it in Saskatoon and that is in my five-year plan to get it in North Battleford,” said Glencross, who worked at The Lighthouse in Saskatoon before it opened a shelter here.

“Clients who don’t have skills to live on their own need support. Those are the ones that will benefit from something like supported living.”

Unfortunately, she told a small but interested group who toured the shelter and met for a question and answer session, there are no developers interested in that kind of a project.

“The City [of North Battleford] went to developers and nobody was interested in bringing that here.”

She said, “We have a 64-unit in Saskatoon attached to The Lighthouse, staffed 24 hours.”

The supported-living project was made possible by the donation of a hotel building in 1997 by local businessman Pius Pfiefer, who also owns hotels in North Battleford.

Each unit is about the size of a hotel room, she said, each with sleeping accommodations and its own washroom. They do not have fridges or stoves, she explained. Clients come down to the dining room where meals are prepared for them.

“We have a lot of clients that have mental health [issues], a lot of clients who are pension age, but independent … and they struggle with poverty, so they are not candidates to be in a place where they have to pay.”

It is also used for people in the first steps of acquiring the skills they need to eventually move out into the community.

Security is strict.

“We don’t allow guests,” Glencross added. “People have to be buzzed in by staff. We have a camera at the door and if we don’t know who you are, we don’t buzz you in.”Screen Shot 2015-12-11 at 12.50.45 PM

She told the group, “That’s what supported living looks like, and that’s what this community needs.”

Finding permanent housing for clients in the community is an important part of the The Lighthouse’s program, so much so that it is a full-time housing locater on staff.

“Since we opened in January, we have housed 36 people out of The Lighthouse,” said Glencross. “That’s a pretty good number of people considering the housing there is in this town.”

Most of their clients need small places, even bachelor suites, so it can be difficult to find the right place for their clients’ needs. And most of them are too expensive for their clients, with Social Services allowing only about $350 for rent, “which is another issue we are advocating for.”

She also said there are several slumlords in North Battleford.

Clients have come back to them because the place they’ve moved to isn’t safe. They’d rather be at the shelter because they are scared to go home.

“We have about four landlords that we will not house our clients with, and that’s for our clients’ safety.”

The Lighthouse staff visit the housing being considered and take pictures, so they can verify the suite is safe and is in good condition. They’ve come across some makeshift situations.

“We actually went to one house and we called the RCMP,” she said.

The landlord was collecting a cheque from Social Services for eight different people, telling Social Services there were eight separate units.

“They had a basement with eight curtains and beds and that’s what they called eight units.”

She said they are working with a member of the RCMP specifically on homes that need to be shut down because the landlords are not taking care of them.

When a landlord amongst the open house visitors said his concern was having his property “trashed,” Glencross admitted they have some clients who are extremely difficult to house. In a small community, the landlords come to know the names of those they don’t want to rent to, she said.

“There are some, obviously, we are not going to house,” she said.

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CTV Story on Lighthouse Emergency Shelter

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Thank you to CTV for their report on the Grand Opening of the Lighthouse in the Battlefords. We had a great turn out and were so pleased to be able to officially open our doors and begin serving those in need of a warm place to stay, a good meal, or a hot shower.

Watch the video on to see visuals of the space and interviews with staff, community members and clients.

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