author: alexa lawlor | staff writer
Shelter is moving amidst outcry and controversy
Souls Harbour Rescue Mission has been a familiar face in Regina for over twenty-five years now, but the recent proposal of a location change has caused a bit of commotion. Neighbours and property owners nearby have claimed to have seen an improvement in the state and safety of the area, and are worried that the new Souls Harbour building will take steps back and bring down the neighbourhood once more.
Their fears are mainly of the criminal element that could be present with the attraction of transient people to the area, as well as fears for the safety of the children that live nearby.
When it comes to building a location to help the less fortunate, there will always be people opposed to having it built in their area of the city. Unfortunately, crime is often associated with people in need of support services, mainly the soup kitchen and the emergency shelter.
This is true in the fact that most people who oppose the new project are opposed to having the soup kitchen and emergency shelter moved to the new location, rather than being opposed to the entire complex. However, removing the shelter and the soup kitchen would defeat the entire purpose of the project, due to the state of the current building where these services are provided. So, no matter the chosen location, there will always be those opposed to the cause.
The Souls Harbour soup kitchen serves over 200 meals each night, as well as serving special holiday meals for Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas. The majority of people that Souls Harbour serves are from the North Central area of Regina and, therefore, the location on Halifax Street is simply not close enough to those people.
The plan for the new location is to build a four-storey building on the same property, on the 1600 block of Angus Street, that Souls Harbour already holds for affordable housing units.
The building will incorporate the soup kitchen and the shelter, moving it from the location on Halifax Street that is not close enough to the people who use Souls Harbour’s services, as well as the fact that the building has certainly seen better days.
The two joined buildings that make up the location on Halifax Street are at least one hundred years old, and are rapidly deteriorating. The new building will also include a clothing store, a daycare service, and the aforementioned affordable housing units.
Not only will the new building be helpful for people, but it will also be environmentally friendly. The building is to be constructed on a brownfield site, meaning that the land was previously used for industrial purposes. Souls Harbour has taken on the task of cleaning up the land, contributing to the environmental aspect of the project, as well as using a passive building design for construction, which limits energy used in the process.
The project was recently approved by the city council, and fundraising for the $7 million building has already begun. The goal is to open the new facility in the summer of 2018.
For now, the Souls Harbor administrative office and transitional housing for women is located at 3535 8th Avenue, and the emergency shelter for men and the soup kitchen are still open on Halifax Street.