Women’s shelter in Saskatoon closes its doors

File photo of shelter beds. Mumford House in Saskatoon was a 36-bed shelter for women and children run by the Salvation Army. File / Global News

A local organization says it is concerned over the closure of a women’s shelter in Saskatoon.

The 36-bed Mumford House, operated by the Salvation Army, recently closed its doors after nine years of operations, the Saskatoon Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP) said on Monday.

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“The loss of 36 shelter beds is incredibly difficult for Saskatoon,” said Shaun Dyck, SHIP’s executive director.

“We understand that the Salvation Army conducted a significant assessment and explored other options. Unfortunately, it was no longer viable for them to continue to operate the facility.”

Dyck said the closure will put additional pressure on already strained shelter services in the city.

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“One of the main challenges facing shelters is the fact that operating costs keep rising, but the funding they receive from the provincial government to provide shelter and food does not keep up,” Dyck said.

“The provincial government will now be spending significantly more than $48.50 per day at a shelter, since it will now be paying for hotel rooms, not to mention other things that Mumford House provided, like formula, diapers, or hygiene products.

Lack of funding is not unique to Saskatchewan.

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One in five shelters in a Canada-wide study reported not having received funding increases in 10 years or more, according to Women’s Shelters Canada, which carried out the study.

“Shelters are not funded adequately, they’ve never really been funded adequately,” said Kaitlin Bardswich, communications and development co-ordinator for Women’s Shelters Canada.

“They’re essentially doing the same work year after year with less money, because things like rent and taxes and food costs are all increasing, but funding is not increasing.”

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WATCH (December 2018): Saskatoon Interval House helping survivors of domestic violence

Click to play video: 'Saskatoon Interval House: helping survivors of domestic violence' Saskatoon Interval House: helping survivors of domestic violence
Saskatoon Interval House: helping survivors of domestic violence – Dec 28, 2018

SHIP said the necessity for shelters for women and children cannot be understated.

“Support during a time of crisis requires a safe and accepting space, and that requires funding,” SHIP said in a statement.

“Children cannot, and should not, be forced to bounce in and out of inappropriate, unsupportive living conditions because of an economic argument.”

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