Feds spend $7.6M to curb homelessness in Saskatoon
SASKATOON -- The federal government is spending $7.6 million to create about 36 new affordable homes in Saskatoon.
The new units could be at existing homeless shelters facilities, or may be new builds.
The city will turn to different housing agencies for proposals and spend the federal money accordingly.
Mayor Charlie Clark said the cash could be allocated to revamping City Inn and Suites, but the city is relying on “the expertise of housing providers” to make decisions.
“We want to make sure there’s the best cost-to-benefit ratio and we’ll have to work with local neighbourhoods on the location,” Clark told reporters.
The Saskatoon Tribal Council (STC) is a housing provider that plans to submit an application.
STC Chief Mark Arcand said his proposal would go beyond housing.
“You can’t just place somebody into a house, you got to provide the services,” Arcand said.
“Our plan is going to be a whole holistic model to incorporate culture, language, identity.”
Arcand said he wants 24 hour security in his model to ensure the homes stay safe.
Fire Chief Morgan Hackl said he’s seen first-hand the struggles people face on Saskatoon streets.
He said it’s important the housing initiative also supports mental health and addictions.
“I don’t think there’s any one solution right now. There’s different types of housing that are best suited for different people,” Hackl said.
“It’s evident that some of what we have provided in the past, is not what these people in our community are looking for.”
The $7.6 million for Saskatoon is part of $2.5 billion the federal government is spending across Canada for the Rapid Housing Initiative.