City of PA and YWCA begin search for property to create permanent 24/7 emergency shelter

Herald file photo

The City of Prince Albert and YWCA are searching for a minimum 9,000 square foot property to serve as the location for a permanent emergency homeless shelter.

The two groups announced their plans on Wednesday. City of Prince Albert Community Safety and Well-Being Coordinator Anna Dinsdale said the shelter is a good step towards addressing the serious social challenges Prince Albert faces.

“Establishing a permanent emergency shelter is one small but significant piece of the jigsaw,” Dinsdale said in a press release. “(It) connects to other important actions like reducing the strain on emergency services and supporting individuals into transitional housing and other services.”

Ideally, the two groups want a property that is a minimum of 9,000 square ft., according to a City of Prince Albert press release. It must also have sufficient outdoor space for a fenced seated area, plus at least 10 parking stalls.

The building should be large and open enough for effective operations. The provincial government has committed funding for a permanent shelter that provides 24-hour emergency service every day of the week. That includes three meals per day, case planning services, and access to wrap-around supports that address wellness and cultural needs.

The shelter will also help connect clients with financial support services to help them find appropriate housing.

YWCA CEO Donna Brooks said finding a suitable location is vital to addressing those concerns. She also said the shelter would provide benefits for the surrounding area.

“We are not looking for a shelter next to a school or densely populated residential area,” Brooks said in a press release. “However, some locations will benefit from the extra security brought by the shelter, staff presence, and amenities such as washrooms.

“We are committed to ensuring the surrounding areas are well-maintained through daily clean-up activities and providing a fenced outside recreation area for clients to socialize and engage.”

The two groups have invited property owners with suitable buildings or land to come forward if it meets the necessary criteria. Anyone interested in contributing can email or for more information. The deadline is May 17.

Dinsdale said contributing to the initiative would not only serve the community, but also offer a unique opportunity to make a strong social impact.