Finding affordable housing can be a challenge for northern Saskatchewan residents, but recent government funding is helping to bring extra units to those that need them.
The Governments of Canada and Saskatchewan announced $4.3 million of funding through the National Housing Strategy and the Saskatchewan Housing Authority for six housing projects in four Saskatchewan communities, including two projects in La Loche, two in Meadow Lake, and one in Île-à-la-Crosse.
“Every Canadian deserves a home that meets their needs and they can afford,” said Ahmed Hussen, the federal social development minister in a Sept. 21 press release. “Today’s announcement under the national housing strategy ensures more Saskatchewan residents will have homes that are suitable for their family’s needs and helps build more inclusive communities where Canadians can build and thrive.”
The Methy Housing Corporation is the only one of its kind in La Loche and is run by the town itself. This is the only way to get houses built in La Loche, said Doug Gailey, manager of the corporation, so they apply for as much government assistance as possible. Right now, the corporation owns about 150 units with around 500 rents and have added another 12 professional residents and will be constructing another six low-income family units thanks to welcome government funding totalling $1.5 million.
With a population of 2,827, there can be 300 applicants for low-income housing in La Loche, he said, so government grants and investments into the community are always welcome.
Lauri Bell, manager of the Meadow Lake Native Urban Housing Corporation, said the KidsFirst Housing Project is a great partnership that will provide four additional housing units for vulnerable children and their families. The project will receive $775,000 in government funding.
There are very few affordable homes in Meadow Lake for low-income residents, Bell said, and only two organizations, Native Urban Housing and the Meadow Lake Housing Authority, that deal in low-income housing. The need is great and they are grateful for the funding that they have received for this project.
Also awarded funds is the Meadow Lake Tribal Council to reopen the Wakoosis Safe Shelter, a six-bedroom project that provides emergency shelter for women and children escaping domestic violence which will receive $1.33 million of government funding. Government funding will also go towards the Trades Training housing project in Ile-a-la-Crosse, “a win-win because house construction projects are unique ways of attracting northern youth to vocations in the building trades, as well as providing affordable housing for northern families,” said the press release, with the project receiving $225,000.
Becky Zimmer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Battlefords Regional News-Optimist