“We have an old building that is badly in need of replacement. We want to build a state-of-the-art facility that will serve this community for many, many years. And we just need a better answer’
Riverside Mission desperately needs community support and funding if it hopes to construct a new building to better serve the needs of those less fortunate in Moose Jaw, its executive director said.
The nonprofit is doing well even though it operates in a 100-year-old building that needs immediate replacement because it’s expensive to maintain — and because of pests, said Souls Harbor Rescue Mission executive director Joe Miller. (SHRM), which oversees the Riverside mission.
The organization closed its men’s emergency shelter, kitchen and dining hall from September 24 to October 3 to fumigate the cockroaches. Hiring a professional contractor would have cost $25,000 for one day, so Riverside Mission staff will complete the job over three days for around $5,000.
This is Riverside Mission’s first major shutdown due to cockroaches, although SHRM temporarily closed the men’s shelter a few years ago to combat bedbugs.
Meanwhile, the Salvation Army said it would provide suppers for the week to cover the closure of the Riverside mission. Once it reopens, its first big meal will be Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday, October 6.
SHRM’s fundraising campaign to raise $4.5 million for a new emergency shelter in Moose Jaw is faring badly, Miller said.
The Regina nonprofit requested $1.2 million from the Saskatchewan Housing Authority (SHA), but the SHA denied the request. Instead, he recommended the charity submit a joint request to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHA) and the SHA for help.
In addition, inflation added another 20%, or $900,000, to the project and pushed the cost up to $5.4 million.
“That’s the reality of the world we live in right now,” Miller said.
While SHRM set aside $1.2 million, it received a poor response from the community, he continued. So far he has received $40,000 from The Mosaic Company, $10,000 from a Regina donor and $7,500 from a local church for a total of $57,500.
During that time, the nonprofit held two fundraisers in Moose Jaw, including a 50/50 that barely broke even and a banquet that, while well attended, generated only $5,000.
“I had to cancel a radiothon because I just don’t have faith — we’ve lost faith…” Miller said. “It will depend on how badly Moose Jaw wants this project.
“We have an old building that is badly in need of replacement. We want to build a state-of-the-art facility that will serve this community for many, many years. And we just need a better answer.
To donate, visit www.shrmsk.com/moose-jaw-building-project.
More support needed
SHRM is willing to take out a loan to finance the project — which it did for its new building in Regina — but needs support from the provincial and federal governments, he said.
Plus, he needs more support from the Moose Jaw business community. While Miller received many calls from contractors wanting to help with the construction, none said they would be making large donations.
Frustratingly for Miller, City Hall might be embittered by the building’s proposed location.
Backlash to the project
He says he got a call from Mayor Clive Tolley, who allegedly asked if SHRM would swap the current location – 212 and 218 River Street West – for another property because the business community wouldn’t want the new location near downtown. events.
The proposed location would then be transformed into a parking lot.
Miller was unwilling to swap the property, pointing out that the charity had already invested $300,000 in it, received permission from council to rezone the property, and received the council’s enthusiastic support.
“No one came to this council meeting to oppose the construction or have concerns about the building,” he added.
Connecting with donors
SHRM continues to communicate regularly with Moose Jaw’s donor base by sending out fundraising letters and packages, while also communicating with the business community.
“We are a nonprofit and we care for the most marginalized citizens of Moose Jaw,” Miller said. “…I hope the community supports this and wants to be a part of it as well.”
Riverside Mission continues to see growing numbers of customers and higher costs for meat, fruits and vegetables. However, Miller says the organization will experience a financial pause for a while as local gardeners donate much of their produce.
Miller said he was confident the project would go ahead, even though construction was set to begin last summer. Since the final funding request will take five months to be approved, the excavators will likely start digging next spring, delaying the project by a full year.