With two dozen people sleeping outside in La Ronge during the summer months, workers at the Scattered Sites Outreach Program are fundraising for 12 cots before November.
“The thought of at least 24 people sleeping outside every night is pretty dangerous,” outreach worker Modeste Mckenzie said. “Come winter when it gets colder, they just go couch surfing. It’s invisible homelessness.”
With Scattered Sites operating the Extended Hours Program between November and March for the last few years, Mckenzie said the need for cots arose because they can no longer borrow them for another organization. The new cots will cost $1,600 with taxes or about $130 each. Mckenzie noted they’ve already secured funds for six cots from donations by local residents.
When the Extended Hours Program is operational, he added it’s used by clients every night. At Scattered Sites, staff also provide breakfast and lunch during the day, laundry services, a shower, needle-exchange program and distribute condoms. Those who decide to stay overnight in the winter are also given supper.
“I have drafted up about 30 letters and I’m going to be bringing those to businesses in the tri-community area in September,” Mckenzie said. “We’re not only looking for monetary donations. If someone has a strong, durable, gently-used cot with a weight capacity of around 300 pounds, we will take what we can get.”
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