Souls Harbour Rescue Mission is very excited to announce the construction of a new multipurpose humanitarian facility in the city of Moose Jaw!
Now that we’ve purchased the land at 212 & 218 River Street West and demolished the old existing building that was there, we’re ready to proceed with the construction of the new facility in the late spring or early summer of 2022. The remediation of the land (there was an old garage/gas station there) is complete and we have the environmental reports to support that claim. This will be an all-encompassing holistic build in the sense that not only will we be able to care for and support society’s last and least (the process of reclaiming broken lives), but we’ll have reclaimed and repurposed the land itself as well! In addition to that, this alcohol and drug free multi-camera 14,500 square foot secure 2 floor facility will also be the new home for Riverside Mission. The existing Riverside buildings are 100 years old and in desperate need of replacement.
Having said that, and generally speaking, this multi-million dollar building will house and include a) Riverside Mission, b) a Food Distribution and Clothing Processing Centre, c) 11 Affordable Housing Suites, d) a 6 suite live in Men’s Addiction Program, and e) Community Support Service Offices. The details of these programs and services are as follows:
Riverside Mission has been serving Moose Jaw’s most needy for many years, and has been and continues to be a beacon of light and a source of hope within the community. Last year alone it served well over 21,000 meals, gave away nearly 500 nights of free emergency shelter, and provided permanent housing to many others!
Riverside mission will continue to provide both a healthy and nutritious lunch meal and a supper meal each week from Monday to Friday. The dining room will comfortably sit 50 people at one time with multiple sittings available each day if needed and as necessary. Three Community Meals (Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas) will also be served. There will be a full commercial kitchen with gas ranges, new modern kitchen equipment, multiple stainless steel surfaces, a commercial dishwasher, etc.
At night, the dining room will convert from a dining area to a men’s emergency shelter, with an increased capacity from 10 men to 12. The men will help with the chores, putting away the chairs and bringing out the cots for the night. There will be showers, laundry facilities, and a small heat treatment room (to reduce the risk of bed bugs, etc.) for their personal belongings. Breakfast will be served to our shelter guests in the morning before they leave for the day.
Food Distribution & Clothing Processing Centre:
This area has a square footage of nearly 2200 square feet. It consists of a large freezer and cooler, a shipping/receiving office, and a large distribution area that includes an assortment of heavy duty industrial shelving for pallets of product. Both prior to the pandemic and during it, Souls Harbour Rescue Mission received some very large donations of food. These donations, in conjunction with numerous pallets of food from a few key partnerships that we’ve developed over the years, were far more than we needed. With such abundance we were able to share large quantities of meat, produce, and fruit with Food Banks in Regina, Moose Jaw, Swift Current, Assiniboia, Weyburn, Estevan, and Yorkton. In addition to this we also shared food with a variety of other non-profits. This vision for food distribution in Southern Saskatchewan is a natural progression; from giving away daily meals and hampers, to forklifting pallets of food to other meal and hamper providers.
Here we will also process the vast amount of clothing donations that we regularly receive. Clothing donations will be sorted, laundered, and initially distributed at no cost to the needy in both Moose Jaw and Regina; as an example, though our free clothing “store” in Regina. After that, all excess summer clothing will be bailed in the Center and then placed in a container which when full will be shipped to orphanages and other ministries in South America or overseas to Africa. All of our clothing is and will be given away for free! We do not resell any clothing.
There is a great need for affordable housing within the community, so the 2nd floor of the building will have 11 modern bachelor suites designated for the ‘hard to house.’ For those with a mental illness, a disability, seniors, those of First Nations ancestry, recovering addicts, etc., these suites will not only be affordable but the rent paid will also include utilities.
The tenants will also have access to our daily meal programs, Souls Harbour Rescue Mission’s support staff, and a variety of other onsite resources and support such as counselling and assisted living, as provided through the Mission’s partnerships with various external organizations.
Men’s Addiction Program:
Though basically similar to the Women’s Addiction Program that we currently operate in Regina, the Men’s program will be a first for the city of Moose Jaw. The Women’s Program in Regina has participants from all over the province, and well beyond, and we expect the same for the Men’s Program in Moose Jaw.
The program is residential in nature, available to single men in need of housing, for anyone struggling with an addiction, and has a capacity of 6 men. The program is one year in length, with an option for a 2nd year of skills and educational training, and another option for a 3rd year for reintegration.
The 1st year has a regimented schedule which includes class time, work shop (an onsite shop for furniture carpentry projects or various landscaping projects), and recreation. The focus for the 1st year is to remain clean and sober for a full year and to develop a purpose and an action plan for their 2nd year. The 2nd year is for 1st year graduates, who continue to live onsite while focusing on an education (through our endowment fund), work placement, or a ministerial stream. The 3rd year focus is on developing a healthy support network, self-sufficiency, and a successful reintegration back into society as a contributing member of it.
Community Support Service Offices:
This building was designed with a ‘shared responsibility’ philosophy in recognizing that for many individuals; real success, whether being drug free, having your own home, holding a job, etc., comes best when more than one person, service, or organization supports that individual collectively with other like-minded people or agencies. In a sense, similar to the African Proverb that says: “It takes a village to raise a child.”
There will be 3 Community Support Service Offices located throughout the building. These offices will be provided free of charge to other service providers, with the intention of providing additional support to the ‘hard to house’ tenants, those participating in our meal programs, and the men in the addiction program. Those support services will consist of onsite pastoral counselling, professional counselling, assistance for medical appointments, assisted living personnel for consultation, various liaison roles, resume preparation, perhaps a barber, etc.
We believe that with these additional support services we can grow a caring and hopeful community within the greater community; a place where we can ‘Love our neighbour as ourselves’, and a place where ‘Hope begins with a meal’ but ends with ‘Real answers for real people’.