The Supported Rooming House project that was slated for development in North Battleford is getting closer to completion and should be ready in April.
Battlefords Indian and Métis Friendship Centre (BIMFC) is the lead on the project.
Executive Director Jackie Kennedy said she recently completed a walk-through of the new building under construction and is pleased with how it is progressing.
“KBI (Construction) is doing an amazing job,” she said of the Saskatoon firm involved in the build. A sod-turning ceremony was previously held last August to launch the project.
The structure will be located at 1132 98th Street in North Battleford and will have eight bedrooms, two of which will be wheelchair accessible. The split-level house will accommodate up to eight adult homeless individuals. Each bedroom unit will have its own bathroom. The site will also include a kitchen and common area. There will also be an office on the lower level for a 24-hour supervisory monitor.
Kennedy said a selection group will be formed shortly to choose the individuals accepted for the project, based on referrals it receives from community agencies in the Battlefords. The aim of the project is to help the most vulnerable, and to help break the homelessness cycle.
“That was the whole meaning for us," Kennedy said. "There are people in North Battleford that are chronically homeless. We want to provide them with a home, a safe environment for them.”
Kennedy said there will be a program in place for the clients selected to make sure their needs are met, whether that is access to counselling for addictions concerns, or anything else.
To those concerned about the project, she said people “don’t have to worry about anything.”
"Everything is going to be safe," she added. "It’s going to be a safe home. This people we are housing are human beings. It’s not going to be a gang house. It’s going to be a safe house for our clients.”
Partners on the project include Saskatchewan Housing Corporation. The provincial government's Saskatchewan Housing Corporation; as well as by the Community Development Corporation under the umbrella of the Battlefords Agency Tribal Chiefs; and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation are funding the project.
According to the province, the federal and provincial governments provided $580,000 for the project through the Investment in Affordable Housing Agreement. The City of North Battleford provided $108,000 for the land and the costs of site servicing. BIMFC received a $130,000 Community Development Corporation grant from the Battlefords Agency Tribal Chiefs for the project. The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation approved $10,000.
“It is long-term affordable housing,” Liana Clinton, the chair of the Battlefords Affordable Housing and Homelessness Committee said. “There is no time limit. As long as they need to stay, they can stay.”
Clinton added the rooming house is not an emergency shelter but rather a more permanent solution for the homeless.
“It’s just about stability, knowing that they have a community and a family there for them in the home," she added.
A separate rooming house is planned for the future. However, phase two will not go ahead until after the pilot for the current project is complete, and is shown to be running smoothly.
On Twitter: @battlefordsNOW
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