More people have reached out and accessed services at the Lloydminster Men’s Shelter than in previous years says Executive Director Valerie Lazicki.
“Our numbers for access to all general services are up which is good. We’ve seen a lot more coming in this year than last year.”
The shelter will be keeping its focus on the drop-in centre in the new year as the weather becomes harsher and more people will be in need of a warm place to stay. Lazicki says the drop-in centre has received a lot of support from the community especially in terms of volunteers.
“We were surprised by how quickly people responded when they heard the drop-in centre was open. It’s been a pleasant surprise for us and we’re really grateful to everyone who has stepped forward.”
The shelter is still compiling the numbers from their city housing assessment but is already seeing an increase in homeless and marginalized people which may account for the increase in people taking part in their services.
“We’ve seen an increase in the community, in general, of people who are either homeless or are marginalized, which means they are at risk of being homeless. They could be one paycheck away from being homeless or their dollars aren’t stretching to meet their needs.”
Another factor to the increase could be because Lazicki has spent the last year getting the word out about the organization and their services. She says in the past some people wouldn’t reach out for help because the Men’s Shelter name is misleading.
“I tell them about all the women we serve and the families we provide with food support. Most people would say ‘I had no idea.’ [I tell them] we serve basically 100 meals a day from out of our lobby and they were astounded because they just didn’t know.”
The Men’s Shelter will continue to run the Coldest Night of the Year fundraiser on February 22. In 2019, the event raised $22,000 for the shelter and Laziki hopes the community will continue to support it.
“I would love to have put in a team and sign up for Coldest Night of the Year. It’s exactly what it says, it’s always cold in February and everyone bundles up to raise money. It’s a good time for fellowship and connection in the city.”
Lazicki says the drop-in centre helps during this time of year as their main 28-bed facility is always nearly full. She says if an opportunity were to come up and if it was economically viable they would consider expanding the facility.
She adds that the shelter is always in need of winter clothing donations such as ski pants, mittens and toques as it gets colder outside. Donations can be dropped off at the shelter on 5001 48 Avenue.