Bruno Place ready to open homeless shelter IG News

Irshadgul News report,

Yorkton, Sask. ,

After months of preparations, Yorkton’s new homeless shelter is set to open on Thursday.

Bruno Place and its organizers have worked tirelessly until the inauguration, and they stand ready to help Yorkton’s unique vulnerable community.

“It’s going to bring a safer place to live for people who don’t have homes of their own,” said project coordinator Angela Chernoff.

“It could be a safe place that can provide them with shelter and food.”

Chernoff continued to explain the uniqueness of the vulnerable community in Yorkton. She said it’s a lot of couch surfing, too many transient individuals with no place to live, and a lot of situational or temporary shelter seeking in the community.

Notably, at the same time, this shelter will fill the existing gap in the vulnerable sector of the community. A shelter male in Yorkton can’t go that far.

Chernoff said that almost daily, people are messaging the group’s social media pages, looking for a warm place to lay their heads for the night or have a hot meal.

Thursday’s inauguration, she said, is a big deal for this community.

“The reception to this project has been overwhelmingly positive and the people have been incredibly generous and encouraging to us, which has really helped us,” Chernoff said.

Where did the name come from

Bruno Place gets its name from a well-known member of the vulnerable community of Yorkton and Commsack, dating back to the 70s to 90s.

Bruno walked the streets throughout that time, with some longtime residents describing him as a welcoming spirit, yet an enigmatic figure.

Yorkton’s current Mayor Mitch Hippsley has been a professional photographer for over 40 years, basing his business in the community. In February 1992, Hippsley posed for a photo of Bruno, who won various awards in his later years.

He said that Bruno was a well-educated man from Montreal, and that Hipsley had to convince Bruno to sit down and photograph him.

Hippsley couldn’t sleep late one night in late 1991, so he went to the local car wash. There, he heard a rustle in the nearby dustbin.

“And kick Bruno out,” Hippsley said.

“He looked at me for a while, then he got out of his barrel and came and talked to me.”

Hippsley said that Bruno gave him some of the books he had written, and Hippsley asked if he could take a picture of them.

“He said he would think about it,” Hippsley said.

Fast forward a year, almost to the day, when Hippsley was in his business in the back room after all his clients canceled due to snow and cold.

“Suddenly, I smelled something. And I knew it was Bruno,” said Hippsley.

“Don’t know why, but I knew it was Bruno… I came in from the back end, I saw this silhouette, at the front door, standing inside.

“He said, ‘I’m here today for my portrait session.’ And I greeted him, and he told me he was studying me… look,'” Hippsley explained.

Hippsley said, Bruno didn’t end up staying for the four-hour session—and about “a few hundred exposures.”

Even after 30 years, the picture remains the same. A print sits in Hippsley’s office to this day.

The prints have been recreated by an Alberta artist as a fundraiser for the shelter, selling them for $25.

Hippsley said the entire conversation from 30 years ago is vivid in his memory all these years later.

“I just knew he was a very private person… he was planning to move back to his hometown, but he felt the need to be here and help real needy people here in Yorkton. You could tell That his purpose was to be here and help,” he said.

Bruno’s presence would continue to help those in need, all these years later, in the city he chose to live in.

Bruno’s Place officially opens Thursday at 7 p.m.

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