Prince Albert Indian and Métis Friendship Centre looking to open men’s affordable housing
SASKATOON -- The Prince Albert Indian and Métis Friendship Centre is hoping to fill a void in affordable housing for men.
Executive director Janet Carriere said the organization is applying for federal funding to build an eight-unit apartment complex. She said they’re still working out the details, but the housing will likely serve men coming out of addictions treatment and the federal corrections system.
Carriere said when men come to them for help, staff can help them find necessities such as jobs or food, but there’s little available for affordable places to live.
“We understand here that everyone can change and that by being supported and helped along the way that we can all find our full potential,” she said.
The friendship centre would provide cultural programming at the apartment complex, such as Bringing Back Our Warriors.
The program starts with a 10-week men’s circle — which includes learning Indigenous history, anger management and traditional parenting skills — followed by cooking a feast to honour the women at the centre.
Carriere said the housing won’t be a halfway home where they control the residents’ “legal lives.” However, the centre does require that the men live free of drugs and alcohol, a requirement for taking part in ceremony.
“There will be a few restrictions, but the main thing is that we will support them and I believe that our whole community will benefit from this because we will help healthy men that are out and able to contribute to our community in a good way.”
City council unanimously approved the $249,000 land purchase on Monday. The land is located at 2950 First Ave. W., near the Prince Albert Correctional Centre.
Ward 7 Coun. Dawn Kilmer said she supported the proposal because it addresses root causes of homelessness, such as addictions.
“Everybody’s healing journey is different and the more that we have support and the more that people feel comfortable and safe to share their stories and ask for help, the better our community is,” said Kilmer.
The land purchase approval allows the friendship centre to apply for funding from the federal government to build the apartment complex. If they’re unsuccessful, Carriere said they will look at other options to fund the housing.
Each of the eight units will have two bedrooms. There will also be a common area for ceremonies.
Carriere said she’s hoping the housing will be in operation by January 2022 if they receive funding from the federal government.