SASKATOON -- EGADZ opened the doors to Ground Zero on Monday, a youth-led housing project designed to serve at-risk teens.

The home offers 10 bedrooms to help people aged 15 to 19 with an immediate, safe place to reside while providing them tools to begin moving forward in their journeys.

The planning and design for the home were completely done by a youth committee who have been impacted by the organization, something EGATZ executive director Don Meikle said makes the house that much more special.

“Because the youth are our experts on the committee, we were able to engage from a youth perspective,” said Meikle.

“The group of youth have been committed for the past two years ensuring that they kept the leadership of ground zero from start to finish.”

To ensure residents feel safe and welcome, the committee helped create rooms specially for sexual assault victims as well as units for people who identify as LGBTQ2S+ spectrum and will continue to come together to ensure the youth are continuing to be supported.

Social Services Minister Lori Carr said the government is committing $1.1 million annually to support the new program along with the help of the Saskatchewan Health Authority which will kick in $244,000.

“This for youth by youth program is the first in Saskatchewan and I’m thoroughly impressed by the strength and tenacity of the youth involved,” said Carr.