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Lighthouse Breaks Ground On New Project

Local Supported Living Organization Looks To Add 58 New Units Downtown by Lévi Soulodre

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.

Media Release: Province Invests $11.5 Million in Saskatoon Affordable Housing Project

From CMHC and the Government of Saskatchewan

SASKATOON, June 17, 2010 — Provincial and municipal representatives gathered in Saskatoon today to announce the development of 65 new affordable housing units for low-income individuals.  The Government of Saskatchewan is investing $11.5 million in the project through the federal and provincial Affordable Housing Trust. The project will be constructed at 227 – 20th Street East, presently a parking lot adjacent to and owned by Lighthouse Supported Living Inc. (The Lighthouse).

“The Government of Canada is proud to have contributed to this project through the Affordable Housing Trust,” Minister of Agriculture Gerry Ritz, on behalf of the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and Minister Responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, said. “These new units will provide quality, safe housing for individuals in Saskatchewan and boost the economic and social well-being of our communities.”

“Improving the quality of life for Saskatchewan people is a goal that we all share,” Social Services Minister and Minister responsible for Saskatchewan Housing Corporation Donna Harpauer said.  “Quality, safe and affordable housing, such as that provided by The Lighthouse project, is an important step towards achieving this goal, and is a key priority of our government.”

“We would like to thank the Government of Saskatchewan for sharing our vision to develop safe, affordable housing,” Lighthouse Supported Living Inc. Executive Director Don Windels  said. “We are excited about the opportunities this provides The Lighthouse to do its part supporting those in need and making the community of Saskatoon shine brighter. We would also like to express our gratitude to our many independent partners who continue to support the work of The Lighthouse.”

The addition of the new units to the existing 63 units will provide approximately 130 units of available housing for The Lighthouse. Many of the units will be independent, and will add to the housing options offered by The Lighthouse.

The Lighthouse currently offers both shelter space and supported living units for vulnerable low-income individuals, with meal service available on site. The new units will offer clients the opportunity to live independently, yet still access Lighthouse supports.

The project is estimated to be completed and ready for occupancy in December 2011.

For information contact:

Linda Saliken
Social Services
Regina
Phone: 306-787-0246