Moose Jaw’s Riverside Mission is dealing with the harsh reality of its 100-year-old building, as they have had to shut its doors for a week due to an infestation of cockroaches and mice. This has left Moose Jaw’s vulnerable population they serve without a place to go.
The mission had to close its men’s emergency shelter back on Sept. 24 and won’t be able to open back until Oct. 3. Though they didn’t want to shut down the centre they needed to, as a way to 100 per cent ensure staff and the people they serve are safe.
“It wasn’t our first choice but the reality is that we still have to deal with this,” says Joseph Miller, Executive Director of Souls Harbour Rescue Mission (SHRM) IN Regina who oversees Riverside Mission.
Estimates by professional companies quoted between $20,000-$25,000 to complete the work, so the mission has decided to take it upon themselves to fumigate the building themselves, which will cost at the most $7,000.
Throughout the 10 days the facility is closed, they joined with the Salvation Army to serve meals for those that need them, with the food provided by the Riverside Mission. They will be open just before their Oct.6 Thanksgiving feast.
This is yet another reason the mission is looking to build a $4.5 million state-of-the-art facility, and desperately needs the community’s support as its fundraising efforts have hit a snag.
“I want to believe that there’s good support that the community wants this there, but we need a significant increase in the financial donations then we’re receiving right now to be able to move forward with this.”
“All we’re trying to do in this process is serving the most vulnerable in the community and those in need. The new building will provide 18 suites of housing, it will have addiction programming and resources. It will have a bigger shelter, a new kitchen, and a food distribution centre.”
Their goal was to have shovels in the ground by the spring of 2022, but they haven’t raised enough funds to be able to proceed. Throughout the campaign, they have gotten three large donations; $40,000 from the Mosaic Company, $10,000 from a Regina donor and $7,500 from a Moose Jaw church.
“If you add that up and you’re looking at a $4.5 million building that’s not a lot. We need more support; we need more financial commitment.”
Millers adds that the SHRM has put aside $1.2 million towards the project, and was hoping to get another $1.2 million from the Saskatchewan Housing Authority (SHA), which took 13 months but was denied.
The non-profit also hit a snag with their 50/50 raffle that they put on, which Millers say they broke even on. The non-profit also put on a big supper banquet fundraiser.
“We had a great turnout. In the end, after we paid for the meals and covered the expenses, we made about $7,000. That’s two fundraisers that have not gone in our favour at all.”
The concern now, is that by prolonging this project, inflation has tacked on 20 per cent – or $900,000- increasing the price to $5.4 million.
Miller continues to be in contact with Moose Jaw’s business community trying to get their support. He has numerous businesses reach out to perform work such as plumbing and electrical, but this hasn’t resulted in a financial contribution.
The proposed location for the new Riverside Mission is 212 and 218 River Street West, which the SHRM purchased for $300,000.
“That was a bit of a turn for us. Now we’ve bought the land, we’ve taken an old gas station and demoed it and cleaned up the land.”
He mentioned that Moose Jaw Mayor, Clive Tolley approached Miller about the possibility of a property trade. The proposal would have the city acquire the mission’s proposed location and in return get another piece of property within the city. He says the city would use the location for additional parking for the Moose Jaw Events Centre.
The non-profit continues to be confident in the construction of the new Riverside Mission and hopes that in the spring of 2023 shovels will be in the ground.