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Homeless men in Fort Qu'Appelle find reason to hope at Yellow Bird Sunrise House

·2 min read
Yellow Thunderbird House opened its doors on June 4.  (File Hills Qu'Appelle Tribal Council - image credit)
Yellow Thunderbird House opened its doors on June 4. (File Hills Qu'Appelle Tribal Council - image credit)

A new home for the homeless in Fort Qu'Appelle is helping the area's hard-to-house get a fresh start.

Yellow Thunderbird Sunrise House, nestled in the heart of Fort Qu'Appelle, opened on June 4.

Curtis Delorme, the house lead and outreach co-ordinator with Red Wolf, a harm-reduction program through All Nations' Healing Hospital, says the house fills a large need in the rural community about 60 kilometres east of Regina.

"It came to be with much needed support for individuals that are needing that assistance and with talks with the town, the community and the tribal council," Delorme said. "It all came together within a year."

The four-bedroom house for men — Fort Qu'Appelle already has a women's shelter — is funded by the File Hills Qu'Appelle tribal council.

The house uses a housing-first strategy, which means people do not need to be clean from substances and have a job to qualify. It also has a traditional knowledge keeper to bring the men some comfort, Delorme says.

The strategy helps bring "back some identity, some traditional knowledge, being able to connect them with maybe a safe journey to where they will be self-abstaining on their own one day," Delorme said.

Delorme says programming through Red Wolf will be used to treat any addicts who come through their doors, adding his background is in addictions, grief and loss.

Before opening the house, Delorme says, he and a co-worker went door-to-door to meet the neighbours and explain the house's purpose and the types of people who would be living there.

"Their response was ecstatic and phenomenal," Delorme recalled. "They were kind of excited knowing that there will be some younger men around the area because there is kind of older people in the neighbourhood and could use the help."

The older people are looking forward to the help that the men could provide in giving back to the community, Delorme says, adding it's exciting and humbling: "Being a young First Nations man, it kind of gets to the heart knowing that we actually could help out and make a difference and maybe change a few people's lives to where they obtain their own residence in the near future."

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