A temporary shelter in downtown Regina will continue to operate through the winter.
Mayor Sandra Masters announced the news on Wednesday after a meeting of Regina city council.
She said an agreement between the provincial government, the City of Regina, the owners of the building and Regina Treaty/Status Indian Services (RTSIS) will allow the 55-bed The Gathering Place: New Beginnings facility to operate through the end of April 2024.
"We are proud to continue to play a role alongside the provincial government, community based organization and our community as a whole to ensure the temporary shelter that provides wraparound services and supports remains available to those who need it all of this winter," Masters said.
Masters stressed that the shelter, which is located inside The Nest Health Centre in the former YMCA, is still temporary, even though it will have been operating for 14 straight months by the end of April 2024.
"I think we've been pretty forthcoming about the fact that it's really challenging to find appropriate space," she said.
The shelter is located in the former YMCA building in downtown Regina. (CBC)
The shelter has been open since Jan. 30 to help fill the immediate shortage of shelter spaces in Regina. The space offers 24-hour wraparound services.
It was slated to close at the end of September, but additional funding from the provincial government allowed it to stay open.
Now it has been given another extension.
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Homelessness has been a central issue for Regina city council this year, as councillors and members of city administration have sparred over declaring homelessness an emergency and the specifics of ending homelessness in the city.
The issue drew national attention after a tent encampment was set up in front of Regina city hall and later demolished.
Masters pointed to a recent funding announcement by the provincial government as proof that they are still working to address the growing problem. Part of that $80 million in funding will help create up to 120 new permanent emergency shelter spaces in Regina, Saskatoon, Prince Albert, Moose Jaw and other communities.
On Wednesday, Masters said that the province has asked the City of Regina to find a place for 30 more spaces.
The province is looking for smaller facilities that could accommodate shelter space, rather than trying to find larger spaces like The Gathering Place: New Beginnings.
They would be operated by third-party businesses rather than the province or the city.
"Council did give administration a directive that we were looking to find permanent 24-hour low barrier shelter space by the end of this year. So we're going to continue to work toward that goal," Masters said.
People on the streets have told CBC News that even with the temporary shelter, there aren't enough beds for everyone who needs one.