DeeAnn Marie

Posts tagged saskatoon

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Voice for the Voiceless

Please watch this little 6 min film to meet some of the people I serve and learn why I am so proud to work at the Lighthouse.

Thanks to Bear, Warren, Harvey and Karmen for sharing in this powerful piece filmed by the Evan Hardy Media School. They interview me a little bit too.

This film premiered at Broadway Theatre in Saskatoon in the middle of January and Giving A Voice To The Voiceless won Grand Prize and Fan Favourite. 

Filed under homelessness mental health poverty thelighthouse yxe saskatoon

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Co-workers told me to come outside and start filming on a day it was scary cold out.

I thought he might throw water on me. Turns out he planned to throw it on himself.

And then I thought, this needs slo-mo and rock music.

Filed under Saskatoon yxe coldenoughforya

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With $1 million spent on one patient, Duncan lays out reforms

About 20 individuals in Saskatoon are known to use more than $100,000 per year in health and other community services, she said. “Sometimes it’s emergency visits, ambulance, other community services or corrections resources … They really need a wraparound service to help them,” Davies said. “Many are homeless.”

Society would do better to redirect that $2 million toward providing those 20 people with housing and other supports, she said.

Filed under The StarPhoenix Saskatoon yxe Regina Homelessness mental health addictions

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Barry Hotel: An Oral History of Saskatoon's Most Notorious Hotel

Great article by Jeremy Warren about one of Saskatoon’s most infamous buildings.

Filed under saskatoon yxe barry hotel hotels gone bad

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Sorry for the late announcement of the winner for the print give away but I got distracted Because I was out of town loosing the Music video of the year category at the WCMA’s.  Anyway the winner is


Congratulations, I’ll be contacting you shortly to figure out delivery.

Woohoo!! Won this little beauty by a great local Saskatoon artist!!

Filed under yxe saskatoon art print winner eggs on a date

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Formerly Homeless: Those Awful Homeless People

Prime time media outlets seem to suggest that homelessnessand violence go hand in hand. Derek Brook explains why this stigma is not only inaccurate, but systemically perpetuated. Lack of affordable housing and a mental health system in tatters contribute to the problem.

When I talk about the Lighthouse (the homeless shelter I work at) to a group of people, often the very first question is, is there a lot of violence there? Or, what do you do when people are violent

I talk about our protocol and our procedures, but the truth is, violence is pretty rare. (Cameras, better trained staff, and being more judicial about who is allowed to stay in our suites has changed security a lot in the past couple of years.)

We are the last stop at the station, we are the place of last resort. The other options are the other shelter, a police cell or the streets, and even in summer people don’t actually want to sleep outside, unprotected against the elements. 

Gang members are also almost non-existent in shelters, even though there are a few hundred gang members in Saskatoon. Gangs take care of their own. When someone threatens someone else that their gang will come get them, we know it is purely posturing and a bluff.

We have no qualms about calling the police about any physical or verbal threats or drug use because it is the only way to keep everyone safe. When you hold people to a high standard, they rise to it, especially if you are consistent with everyone.

The stigma of violence and therefore being afraid or scared of people who are homeless just isn’t true. Mental health issues are higher than the national average in people experiencing homelessness but that does not mean their risk of violence against others is higher than other groups. 

I have never felt threatened or more worried about my personal safety any more than I did while working at the mall. 

But I know people will continue to ask me about how I can work with those ‘awful homeless people’, forgetting they are PEOPLE just like you or I.


Filed under homeless people violence saskatoon yxe homeless shelters affordable housing mental health system the Lighthouse

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Not the suburbs

The corner is now a gaping hole, piled high with twisted metal and smashed concrete. It’s a palpable symbol of the gentrification of Second Avenue.

But not everyone thinks the downtown needs cleaning up.

“Downtown has a life and vibrancy and something different than living in the suburbs,” says DeeAnn Mercier, who works at the Lighthouse Assisted Living on Second Avenue. She spends most of her work week on the downtown streets.

“It has a variety of cultures and demographics. It’s actually brushing up against people in the community that you are living in, and that is part of the joy of living downtown,” she says.

Mercier doesn’t buy the argument that demolishing the McDonald’s or getting rid of the Olympia solves anything. While it might make people living in $500,000 condos feel safer when they walk down the street, it’s not really fixing the core of the problem, she says.

“There are people who live in poverty, who live downtown, who live in horrible conditions and are probably drug dealing or using (drugs) themselves. That happens downtown, and that’s a fact. But that happens in a lot of parts of the city. It’s maybe a little more open downtown because there are people. I think that’s an aspect of our city that we want to ignore,” Mercier says.

Filed under urbanism saskatoon yxe toot toot my own horn

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Rethinking “parklets” in San Francisco

Since beginning to allow local businesses and community groups to create “parklets” in 2009, San Francisco has pioneered these streetside public spaces in what the city initially called the ”temporary urbanism program.” SF agencies developed a program that allows businesses, nonprofits and property owners to apply for permits to convert adjacent on-street parking into public spaces that are open and accessible, though also removable.
The San Francisco Examiner and Planetizen recently reported on the removal of a parklet that had been criticized as “a haven for homelessness and illegal activity” in the Haight-Ashbury district. Observers have interpreted this episode as reflecting the “growing pains” of this conversion of on-street parking into public spaces. With about 40 parklets now scattered around the city (see photos above), and many more requests all the time, Planning Department officials are said to have learned from this incident and others around the City. 
Oversight and guidelines now require detailed descriptions of the design and purpose of parklets as part of the application process. A comprehensive packet released late last year by the Planning Department began to codify the city’s policies on this innovative experiment in the creation of small, incremental, locally created public spaces. Other cities around the country have begun to follow suit in efforts to encourage more vibrant public spaces for pedestrians and local businesses.
I had an idea for Park(ing) Day in Saskatoon, recreate some blue benches with Golden Arches hanging over them and free fries and cheap coffee and all would be welcome.
Even loud teenagers with rainbow hair and people who hadn’t showered lately and people who yelled and people who stayed for over an hour because they were in no rush to get anywhere. Just enjoying the sunshine.
But havens are undesirable and they’ll codify the parks. Starbucks will get one, the Arches will not.

(via zoningnews)

Filed under yxe saskatoon park(ing) day urbanism san francisco homelessness

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Lighthouse opens 'stabilization' emergency shelter - Saskatoon - CBC News

A Saskatoon shelter opened 20 new beds today, aimed at providing lodging for people with addictions who might otherwise end up on the street.

"These are dedicated to housing men and women who are experiencing homelessness, and also may be under the influence of drugs or alcohol." said DeeAnn Mercier, who works at The Lighthouse. She said during the winter months, the police drunk tank is often the only other place where homeless people can sober up.

"That’s just not a good use of resources for our city, especially for our police officers who have other things they need to attend to," Mercier said.

She said the stabilization shelter will accept both men and women who are intoxicated, in dormitory style cots. But she said it’s not meant to be a so-called “wet” shelter.

"You cannot drink on the premises," she said. "You cannot use on the premises. This is just a place to sleep it off and be safe."

Right now, most shelters in Saskatoon insist overnight guests sober up, before allowing them to bunk there. The health region has a brief social detox centre, for those who also need medical attention.

"Unfortunately they have few beds," Mercier said. "The need has progressed beyond what their capacity is."

The overnight “stabilization” shelter at the Lighthouse will be open from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. every night. Outside those hours, counsellors will offer intensive support to help homeless people transition into housing.

In its first year, the federally-funded Homelessness Partnering Strategy (HPS) will give the shelter $200,000 to hire staff and operate services. The Lighthouse is also receiving an additional $198,848 from the HPS to renovate a more permanent shelter area. The Saskatoon Health Region is also providing financial support.

The Lighthouse also said it has completed renovations to its kitchen, office and cafeteria. New furnishings, equipment and security system were added as well, thanks to federal funding.

"Right now we’re opening 20 beds, and our plan is to have 30 beds in the future for the project," Mercier said.

Filed under homelessness media lighthouse stabilization shelter homeless shelters saskatoon cbc cbc news