Square One Community Inc. Moose Jaw continues to work towards opening their women’s emergency shelter and warming centre.
They announced earlier this week that Cheantelle Fisher has been hired as the general manager of the Square One Community Centre, overseeing the emergency shelter and warming centre.
“My excitement is at about a ten right now,” says Fisher. “I am beyond thrilled to be able to work with Square One in this capacity, I’ve worked with them for about a year and a half as partners. Being able to move into this with them and grow with them, I am thrilled.”
Fisher will take over her role as the general manager on May 1.
The location at 138 Fairford Street West was formally occupied by Global Direct Realty.
Global Direct Realty was required to move out of the building, now known as William Milne Place, when the city canceled its sublease to make way for Square One.
For Fisher, her new position as the general manager is more than just a job, it’s a passion of hers and she is looking forward to the opportunity to help the new community centre grow.
“It means more than I can express. I have worked for a decade working with survivors of sexualized violence and relationship violence. It also has some very personal feelings for me. This is something our community very much needs. We see the need growing.”
Fisher will hit the ground running on her May 1 start date as she will start developing the infrastructure of the centre, begin training the team to phase in services and determine opening dates.
She will also work toward making her vision of the centre come to life.
“What I want this to be is safe for everyone. To be safe for the people who live and work around it, safe for our guests, and welcoming to everyone. Whether folks want to come in and support us through volunteer work or offering presentations, or whether it’s folks utilizing the service. I want it to feel like home to whoever comes in.”
Fisher will be leaving her current role as Client and Resource Representative at the Moose Jaw & District Food Bank.
“The food bank is my family. When I came home to Saskatchewan, they were the first folks whom I interacted with, and they are my family, I love them so much. They have been so supportive in this transition, are very happy for me, and are ready to help with whatever I need. I think what I’m going to miss every day is the laughter in this building.”
One of her goals in her new role is to bring the laughter she experienced every day at the food bank to the Square One Community Centre.
Within that role, she started the Syn'gage program, which was to assess the needs of their clients within Moose Jaw and see if they could become more than just a food bank.
“Help folks take down the barriers that were preventing them from feeling the level of success that they wanted in their lives.”
She helped clients apply for their social service benefits and the Saskatchewan Assured Income Disability Program (SAID), secure identification, and referred residents to different programs within the city.
In addition, she started a life skills program to assist residents with simple everyday tasks to help them be successful.
“I taught things like basic budgeting starting with a bank account and whether is it better than a cheque cashing service. We looked at how to get the most out of what we’re receiving.”
She also helped clients learn the rights and responsibilities of an employee, how to find a job, prepare for an interview, resume writing, and other life skills.
Fisher has taught this program at the Saskatchewan Polytechnic Moose Jaw campus and partnered with the Moose Jaw Non-Profit Housing Corporation to help their residents.
Though there is some excitement about the new role, Fisher says there are some nerves as well.
“I would be foolish not to. This an incredible undertaking and the willingness of the community to put this trust in me not just as organizations but as individuals, the gravity of that is not lost on me.”
Square One Moose Jaw was born in 2021 by the COVID-19 Response Committee, recognizing that housing stability was a pressing issue.