The Saskatoon Tribal Council says their wellness centre to house the homeless in downtown Saskatoon will officially open Wednesday evening.

The shelter was originally supposed to open on Monday, but the opening was delayed to make sure all the safety inspections were completed.

The wellness is aiming to help homeless people as winter weather settles in.

The Wellness Centre is a temporary solution to the systemic issue of homelessness, with long-term potential to help our relatives (Wahkohmakanak) off the streets,” said Tribal Chief Mark Arcand in a release sent out on the official opening on Wednesday.  “This is an Indigenous-led solution for everyone who needs it. STC is proud to lead by example and help our community.”

The STC sent out a media release Wednesday afternoon confirming the centre’s opening.


The opening of a downtown homeless shelter in Saskatoon run by the Saskatoon Tribal Council has been delayed.

The STC says they are still waiting for approval to the upgrades of the building’s H-VAC system before they can officially open their doors.

Tribal chief Mark Arcand says they plan to notify the public as soon as the shelter is open.

The STC was hoping to begin housing people at the shelter on Monday.


A new homeless shelter run by the Saskatoon Tribal Council will be officially opening its doors next week.

The City council held a special council meeting Thursday morning to unanimously approve the opening of the new downtown shelter, which STC Tribal Chief Mark Arcand is calling a wellness centre.

The centre will be able to house 50 people to get them out of the streets during the winter months and will also provide clients with additional supports as well.

Chief Arcand says the wellness centre will begin operations on Monday after staff training, an upgrade to the fire alarms, and cleanup of the building’s H-Vac system.

“That’s why we aren’t opening until Monday because we need those things to be in place,” Arcand told reporters at the downtown building on Thursday morning.

In addition to approving the opening of the centre, the city council also provided $120,000 in donations to help in the facility’s operations.

“Big shoutout to Charlie Clark and the council for stepping up and being a very good partner and trying to support an initiative that is really trying to help people and support our city,” said Chief Arcand.

Arcand also spoke on the importance of partnerships in getting the wellness centre open and had high praise for Saskatoon Fire Chief Morgan Hackl and the Sanctum Care Group.

“Without their support, this wouldn’t have been possible,” he said.

Funding still needed

The wellness centre is expected to cost around $1.4 million to operate throughout the winter. Chief Arand says with the city’s donation and STC internal revenue the shelter can be open for “max two months” says Arcand.

The Tribal Chief says they are in the process of lobbying the provincial and federal government to fill in the funding gaps and is confident the necessary funding will fall into place to allow the centre to stay open until spring.

“I am very optimistic we will have funding in place to keep (the centre) open for four to five months,” he said.

Openness to the community

Arcand says the support from the community so far has been great with lots of businesses donating in whatever way they can.

“They want to donate clothing, donate muffins from a bakery, they want to donate money,” he said.

Arcand continues to say the STC is open to dialogue for anyone who may be concerned about another homeless shelter in the city’s downtown core. He asserts that the building on 1st Ave was the only option available to them.

“Would I have preferred a different location, absolutely,” said Arcand. “If there is an option out there… we’re in, but this is the only option we had.”
In the end, STC Chief Arcand is excited and proud to be a part of an initiative that is Indigenous-led.

“We recognize in the City of Saskatoon the majority of homeless people are Indigenous, so we are proud that we are actually leading by example.”

(PHOTO: STC Chief Mark Arcand shows off the inside of a new wellness centre to reporters. Photo by Joel Willick.)