Swift Current youth shelter set to close doors after lack of operating funds – Saskatchewan

An emergency shelter for at-risk teens in southern Saskatchewan is slated to close less than a year after it opened because of a financial shortfall.

Dorie’s House opened its doors in January, after people in Swift Current, Sask., volunteered months of their time to make the facility a reality.

The 24-hour, eight-bedroom co-ed facility is operated by Southwest Youth Emergency Shelter Inc.

It’s an upsetting time, but at the same time we are resolved and we’re not giving up.
– Bob Hale, Southwest Youth Emergency Shelter board chair

Staff are trying to find solutions for the youth currently at the shelter before it closes Oct. 4, said Southwest Youth Emergency Shelter board chair Bob Hale.

“I believe they are upset, of course, and worried about where things will go,” Hale said, noting the shelter was a place of stability for many. “I think a lot of them feel like they are back to square one.”

Hale said the shelter has had more than 500 bed stays and given shelter to 27 youth so far. Furthermore, the shelter has helped teens who needed support but not necessarily a place to stay overnight.

There are 15 staff members at Dorie’s House and six of them are full-time employees. It costs between $30,000 and $40,000 each month to run the facility, which has been operating entirely on community support, Hale said.

Plea for provincial funding

Despite the looming closure, staff and board members aren’t ready to say it’s over, Hale said. 

“It’s an upsetting time, but at the same time we are resolved and we’re not giving up. This project is too important.”

The shelter has operated without provincial assistance since it opened. 

“The community has stepped up, the staff at the shelter have been absolutely fantastic. The families have come to us for assistance, so we feel it’s time for government to step up,” Hale said.

Dorie’s House staff previously applied for provincial government financial support, but it was denied because officials said there wasn’t a need for the shelter — or that need was being met by other services in the community, Hale said.

“That’s why we opened as a bit of faith and also as a bit of a pilot project, to see what the need is,” he said.

Province told organizers no money was coming

According to a email statement sent Friday from Social Services Minister Paul Merriman, Dorie’s House was built despite organizers knowing there was no money to pay for operating costs. 

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