The newly installed Saskatoon Public Library (SPL) Outreach Worker Walk-up Window provides safe and valuable access to services previously offered by the library. The window is located at the Central Library in the heart of Saskatoon’s downtown district. The Walk-Up Window allows Outreach Workers to meaningfully connect with all community members including youth, seniors, members of the LGBTQ2S+ community, people living with mental illness, people who are experiencing poverty and homelessness, and persons with disabilities who require assistance navigating community resources.
The project, funded through a $15,000 grant provided by United Way of Saskatoon and Area through the Government of Canada’s Emergency Community Support Fund, has helped vulnerable community member’s access emergency shelter, food security, long-term housing, mental health supports, health information, assistance in filling out applications, and provided more than 24 other community referrals.
One individual who was unable to enter the library due to COVID-19 restrictions was able to receive a referral to emergency housing support and fill out an application for long-term housing. Another individual received assistance with an application for ID to access other necessary health information, and was able to secure housing by utilizing the Outreach Worker’s monthly housing list. Both service users have been back to SPL a number of times for various supports, showing the value in the service.
The Walk-Up Window has increased accessibility and reduced barriers for users. It is now a permanent installation and will continue to act as a safe place to access information for individuals in Saskatoon’s downtown core.