The Saskatoon Tribal Council says they have identified a building as a possible location for a permanent homeless shelter in the city.

The STC has been running a temporary wellness centre in the city’s downtown core since December. According to the organization, the facility has been full every night since opening and has housed over 400 people.

Tribal Chief Mark Arcand says the new permanent location is located on 20th Street West near St. Paul’s Hospital outside of the downtown core.

However, there are a few hurdles that need to be overcome before this shelter could become a reality.

STC will need to finalize negotiations to purchase the land, then they will then need to acquire around $3-5 million in funding for a year-long renovation.

Tribal chief Arcand hopes community organizations, private businesses, and governments can “step up” and help provide the funding.

“It’s a win-win for everybody, but it’s going to take a process,” Arcand told a group of reporters at a press conference in Saskatoon on Monday.

Arcand was happy to have a possible location away from downtown and has previously said the reason they set up downtown was it was their only option. The Tribal chief spoke on some tumultuous relationships with nearby businesses since they began the operation.

“I have always had an open invitation to the public to pick up the phone and have a conversation, instead they will send letters to city council instead of picking up the phone,” said Arcand. “We are not going to solve all these issues in one day, but if we are pitting ourselves against one another it is not going to work and I don’t want to be a part of that because it is not going to save lives.”

In the meantime, Chief Arcand will be asking Saskatoon City Council for an extension on the lease of their current temporary shelter to run for another 6 months with the hope the temporary shelter can bridge the gap until the permanent shelter comes to fruition.

“Look outside it’s April 11th and it’s chilly outside and we just want to keep providing services to our relatives and move forward in a positive direction.”

(PHOTO: STC Chief Mark Arcand at the opening of the temporary Wellness Centre in December.  Photo by Joel WIllick.)