Ranch Ehrlo Society, Ehrlo Community Services Inc., the Ranch, ECS, Ranch Ehrlo Community Services, RES, Community Services…we’ve seen it all! After 15 years the public (and especially the media) is still not sure if we are one agency, two agencies, one agency with a subsidiary, or one agency that recently had a name change.
Confusion about our respective identities was not the reason that the members of the Ranch Ehrlo Society and Ehrlo Community Services Inc. decided last year to amalgamate, but it will be one less thing to worry about.
Throughout its 45 year history, the Ranch has been involved in community and vocational programs, often as a means of providing young people with work. The programs were varied, and somewhat ad hoc, dependent on the opportunities presented and the interests of individuals overseeing them. Things changed in 1995 however when CMHC and the Saskatchewan Housing Corporation approached Ranch Ehrlo with an offer the board of directors was reluctant to accept. The Ranch was asked to assume the mortgage of 48 unit apartment complex in south Regina that had run into financial difficulties. Always looking to embrace new opportunities and challenges Geoff Pawson, president and CEO, was eager to proceed. The board of the Ranch however was concerned that the assets of the agency may be at risk if the real estate venture failed. After one of the longest board meetings in the agency’s history, a separate agency, Ehrlo Community Services Inc., came into being to provide affordable housing in Regina.
Over the years, Ehrlo Community Services grew to include counselling, affordable housing, sports and recreation, and vocational programs. The nature and success of the programs attracted community and public awareness and positive media coverage. The reference to Ehrlo in the agency’s name linked people back to Ranch Ehrlo, but they weren’t clear about the relationship, or if in fact they were one and the same. As the types of programs at both agencies began to increase and expand, it was not always clear why one program, such as the family treatment program, was housed in one agency and not the other. As the services of the two agencies continued to intersect and with concern about risk no longer a factor, the decision was made to amalgamate the two agencies at its year-end on May 31, 2011. The amalgamated agency will retain the name of the Ranch Ehrlo Society. An attempt to change the name (or to go to a combination of the two names) would create more confusion in the public’s mind.
So welcome to the new, improved, and upsized Ranch Ehrlo Society!