Five tiny bunk houses have been donated to the homeless population on the Blood Reserve after nearly two months of work from southern Alberta volunteers.
Sergeant Jim Bennett, a 12-year member of the Blood Tribe Police Service, began the project with the hopes of providing more space to accommodate the homeless population at Moses Lake, a reserve community near Cardston, Alta.
The Moses Lake shelter, operated by FCSS (Family and Community Support Services) is currently operating due to increased demand during COVID-19, but they typically close between April and October each year.
Bennett says he and his colleagues have donated tents, blankets, and other supplies to the homeless population at Moses Lake for many summers, but it was time to put a roof over their heads.
“This is something more permanent, better than a tent, not quite yet an actual apartment or a home,” Bennett said.
With this project, FCSS staff hope to provide clients a better footing to make the step toward recovery from addictions.
“I think this will be the place for them.”
“They’ll have a sense of belonging,” said Tribal Councillor Floyd Bighead, adding he hopes to see more being done to help shelter populations in other communities on the reserve such as Standoff.
Bennett says the eight-by-12 foot tiny homes are insulated and each have a maximum capacity of four people. Mattresses and quilts have been donated for each.
He says the group hopes to spread the initiative to Rotary across the province to use the bunk houses at Moses Lake as a formula to expand and help more reserves.
Although the homes are now finished and on-site, a few finishing touches must be made before they can be occupied.
Ironshirt says he hopes to see the remaining work done as soon as possible, so they can start the process of welcoming clients into their new temporary homes.