Saskatoon, SK — Saskatoon’s The Lighthouse Supported Living organization has broken ground on its latest project, which will offer more lower-income individuals in Saskatoon a place to live.
The project will see the construction of 58 one- and two-bedroom units for the non-profit organization’s suites at 20th Avenue East.
The Lighthouse, which provides both transitional and long-term housing for lower-income individuals in Saskatoon, is building adjacent to its other property, which was formerly the Capri hotel. The eight-storey structure is scheduled to be completed by spring of next year.
“We expect residents can occupy [the building] soon after completion,” says Tim Gross, executive director of housing development with the Ministry of Social Services. Currently, The Lighthouse suites include 64 supported living units and 28 emergency shelter beds, with meals and wellness programs available on-site.
“The primary goal is to work with those people that are able to move on to independent living; it’s the ultimate goal of the people at the Lighthouse,” Gross explains.
“In the new building, we’re anticipating a longer stay for residents,” he continues.
The Lighthouse’s Jason Moore explains that many of the inhabitants struggle with a number of personal challenges.
“Any of the people who come to The Lighthouse who may have addiction issues [or] lack life skills, we work with those people by providing programming … to help our clients obtain and retain housing,” he adds, noting that a staggering 80 to 85 percent of residents are combatting some form of mental illness or addiction.
Moore explains that, along with offering residents a place to stay, The Lighthouse provides programming, such as work training, and life skills, such as budgeting, for its inhabitants.
“Our goal is to increase the [amount] of low-income housing available in Saskatoon,” he continues.
“As Saskatoon’s economy is growing and developing, we’re also noticing a trend in less lower or affordable housing in our community.”
“So much so that the city, the community, and … the provincial government decided we needed to do something about it.”
The Lighthouse housing project is expected to cost approximately $15.3 million; the Saskatchewan Housing Corporation is contributing about $13 million, with The Lighthouse providing $1.5 million and the City of Saskatoon $925,000.
Christina Beck, a current resident and volunteer at The Lighthouse, says the new units are a welcome addition.
“[There are] a lot of people out there that are unfortunate,” Beck says.
“There’s always people coming in, looking for places to stay and filling in applications. I know the waiting list is really big right now, so it’s great they’re going ahead with construction to make more spaces for new people.”
The 58 new units will be added to the existing 64 apartments, bumping the total number of available living quarters to 130.