The Southwest Street Culture Foundation Committee (SWSCFC) is aimed at breaking down barriers that youth within the Southwest region face in regards to safe, appropriate residential housing.
There have been several attempts to integrate a residential emergency shelter into the Southwest region for youth populations to utilize; however, lack of adequate funding has prevented this from being successful. For many individuals within the region who are considered “at risk”, the progress that they make from their involvement with different agencies and programs is hindered by the fact that at the end of the day they have to return to unsafe houses, utilize ‘couch surfing’, or have nowhere to go at all. This has been a constant concern for youth within the region and often means that they do not have the opportunity to make the smart, responsible, positive choices necessary to transition into a healthy lifestyle and home.
As a result, our Foundation’s hope is to create a residential resource that this at risk population will be able to utilize. Our committee has formed a partnership between many organizations and community agencies as we understand that this is a barrier inclusive to many situations such as substance use/abuse, mental health issues/concerns, lack of support systems, inadequate or unaffordable housing, and family violence. The Five Days for Change campaign created by the Senior Leadership Council at Swift Current Comprehensive High School has assisted the Foundation on its way to achieve their goal to end homelessness in Swift Current. The youth involved in the event raised
approximately $16,000 by sleeping homeless for four nights, relying only on donations and money raised to purchase necessities such as a toothbrush, shower privileges, and food. The youth involved have graciously donated every penny to the Southwest Street Culture Foundation as they feel it’s an important cause for their community.
Agencies such as Addictions and Mental Health, Justice, Social Services, Corrections, and the RCMP who work with these at risk populations have also identified the critical need for a shelter in southwest Saskatchewan. The project’s goal is to reduce the barriers for this population to assist them to participate and/or transition into a healthier life by providing not only food and shelter, but also support systems, opportunities, and positive, lasting relationships.
The 18 member SWSCFC consists of representatives from the City of Swift Current, Cypress Health Region, Regional Intersectoral Committee, RCMP, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Social Services, Chinook School Division, The Salvation Army, Meyers Norris Penny, as well as youth and adult community members. The Southwest Street Culture Committee is operating under the not-for-profit Street Culture Kidz Project Inc. based in Regina.
Founding Street Culture C.E.O. Kim Sutherland shared, “This expansion provides an extraordinary youth housing resource for communities in the entire Southwest area and the exemplary preparatory work done by the SW Street Culture committee provides a solid base for these anticipated housing services. The Provincial Government’s support further stabilizes this effort, as the focus they have on intervention services for youth is very similar to ours. An excellent partnership all around!”
The awareness and fundraising efforts of Five Days for Change have supported the Southwest Street Culture Foundation move forward in planning their project. The committee is currently seeking a qualified individual to join their team as a Project Coordinator. The incumbent will be responsible for assisting the SWSCFC in the development and implementation of an Emergency Youth Shelter in Southwest Saskatchewan. Interested applicants for the Project Coordinator position are encouraged to visit the job posting located on www.saskjobs.ca.