Lighthouse residents say debate on location is ‘white-washing’ deeper issues

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The shelter has problems, but he doesn’t know what would replace it, he said. 

“Moving the shelter, first of all, it’s just white-washing the issue,” resident Sheena Michelle said.“If they move it, that’s just one less place for us to go.”

Mayoral candidate Rob Norris, a former Saskatchewan Party cabinet minister, has said the shelter contributes to people feeling unsafe downtown. He launched a petition called “FIX the Lighthouse.”

Another mayoral candidate, former mayor Don Atchison, told CBC News he was in favour of moving thebuildingout of the downtown.

Mayoral candidate Mark Zielke has said he’s picked five potential new locations, but he declined to disclose where they are.

Incumbent Mayor Charlie Clark has said the Lighthouse isn’t responsible for activity nearby, but he agrees the current approach to homelessness and substance abuse is flawed. 

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“Is it perception? Is it reality? I think it’s a combination of all those things,” Clark said on the subject of public safety downtown. “But what it is … an in-your-face understanding that the system has not been working.”

Tyson Charette said he’s lived at the shelter for two years and sees a need for changes to deal with the violence he’s witnessed. He’s not opposed to moving parts of the facility’s services, but stresses the shelter itself is not the issue.

“That would just be one less home for the homeless,” Charette said. “There’s already very little help that the homeless get. Even with the Lighthouse here there’s plenty of people on the street.”


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