Over the last nine months, it provided a safe haven for homeless teens in and around Swift Current, but now the Southwest Youth Emergency Shelter is shutting its doors due to a lack of funds.
The shelter, also known as Dorie’s House, was built only by community donations and without approval or funding from the government.
Bob Hale, board chair for the shelter, said he hopes it’ll only be temporary.
“During that period of time, there’s going to be people out there, who could be using this facility, who we’re not able to serve,” Hale said, adding they plan to continue to heat the building to keep the pipes from freezing, but will be turning youth away.
A statement from Social Services Minister Paul Merriman said that “Dorie’s House was built even though organizers were told that there was no budget for operating funds.”
Hale told 980 CJME that his team recognized funding wasn’t there at the start, but decided to move forward to show the province there was a need for the shelter.
“We’ve been very busy. We’ve had a number of youth come through the facility, and we feel we have demonstrated that that need is indeed there,” said Hale.
Since its Jan. 15 inception, Dorie’s House has provided about 25 teens with around 500 overnight stays.
Hale said it takes about $30,000 to $40,000 per month to run the facility, and they’re hoping for around $300,000 from the government to pay for employee salaries.
During the shutdown, Hale said 15 of the youth workers will lose their jobs.
While the donations aren’t dwindling, Hale explained the shelter is running out of options for consistent funding.
“We had a couple of grant applications that didn’t come through that we hoped for, but the community continues to be supportive,” he said.
The statement from Minister Merriman notes that the ministry “already funds two licensed youth and young adult group homes in Swift Current.” It said spots are available to provide youth with the supports they need.
Social Services also cited the Swift Current Community Youth Initiative, which it provides funding to for youth community programming.
Regardless of the province’s push back, Hale said they’re going to try again for funding.
“We want to work with government. We want to sit down and talk and see what can be put together,” said Hale.
Dorie’s House will close its doors Oct. 4.