Looking to bring resources to Moose Jaw to help combat homelessness, Square One Moose Jaw Inc. was officially recognized as a municipal project on Monday night.
Presenting to city council, it was voted unanimously to give Square One’s homelessness project a municipal project designation until Dec. 31, 2023, with either party being able to terminate the designation with 90 days’ notice.
The municipal project status is a temporary solution as Square One awaits to be recognized as a non-profit charity.
“Charitable status can take a while. I know this is really an interim for that solution. This committee is so active and moving forward trying to fill this gap that we have in the community,” said Coun. Crystal Froese.
Square One Moose Jaw was born in 2021 by the COVID-19 Response Committee, recognizing that housing stability was a pressing issue.
“Anecdotal evidence showed the need for emergency housing coupled with wrap-around services to support the individuals finding their way as they started over at square one in their new lives,” said Square One chairperson Della Ferguson.
Since its inception, Square One Moose Jaw has been able to achieve the following:
- Contracted a coordinator
- Held life skills classes
- Built a website
- Developed a clothing closet repository
- Created a volunteer bank
- Applied for charitable status
- Had a refurbished house donated anonymously
- Hosted lunch and learns
- Raised funds through local restaurant meals, markets and raffles
- Met with the mayor, city manager and MLAs to advocate for their cause
- Built a collaboration with other agencies in the city
- With the help of Bill and Laurette Keen, they developed the Better Together Campaign that has raised $35,000 to date for the John Howard Society’s My Place program.
“Everything we have done is in an effort to fill in the gaps regarding homelessness that are yet to be met in our community,” Ferguson said.
Some of Square One’s goals include getting a women’s emergency shelter to support women while they are finding stable housing, setting up a central navigator system modelled after Medicine Hat’s program and having a warming centre.
Square One becomes the 11th active Municipal project under the City of Moose Jaw. Municipalities are considered qualified donors by the Canada Revenue Agency and can issue official donation receipts for income tax purposes for municipal projects.