REGINA - The ribbon was officially cut Thursday to mark the completion of Regina’s first Rapid Housing Initiative project.
Now open is misatimosimôwin mîhkowâp, or Horse Dance Lodge. It is a 29-unit permanent supportive housing facility located at the corner of Broad Street and 5th Avenue in Regina.
The idea behind the project is to provide affordable housing to support those at risk of homelessness or houselessness, and bring those residents a step towards housing security. Coming together to make it happen were several partners and different levels of government.
The development was led by Silver Sage Housing Corporation with support from the City of Regina, Saskatchewan Housing Corporation, and Canada Mortgage & Housing Corporation through the Rapid Housing Initiative.
The Rapid Housing Initiative funded the Horse Dance Lodge project with funding of $7.7 million. Saskatchewan Housing Corporation provided $783,000 from the Saskatchewan Co-Investment Program while the City of Regina provided a Permanent Supportive Housing Grant of $575,000 as well as $615,000 from the Housing Incentive Program.
Those involved in the project called that collaboration historic, something not done before. Representatives from the various organizations and governments including Regina Mayor Sandra Masters and provincial Minister of Social Services Gene Makowsky were on hand to cut the ribbon Thursday morning.
Silver Sage now turns the building over to Regina Treaty/Status Indian Services, who will operate the building and provide the programming and wraparound supports. The wraparound supports will addressing not only addictions, but also life skills and culturally appropriate supports for those living at the location.
The expectation is that all 29 units will be fully filled, with tenants moving in through October. It’s estimated upwards of between 40-45 individuals will be residing there, including families.
“It’s a very great day because we’re unveiling a facility that’s going to house vulnerable people,” said Jeremy Fourhorns, Tribal Chief and CEO of File Hills Qu’Appelle Tribal Council.
“And by people I don’t just mean men and women, but also children. It’s a requirement of our agreement with CMHC that 25 per cent of the tenants in this facility have to be women and children. So it’s very much going to be a family-focused building with an emphasis on wraparound supports to help them with that long-term goal of stability, to have a home. There’s houselessness and there’s homelessnessk so we’re very proud to be able to be here to address those with our partners Sask Housing Corporation, the city of Regina, the government in Saskatchewan. All of our groups came together to. to do something positive for vulnerable people.”
The design-build was handled by Big Block Construction, with David T. Fortin Architect involved in the design. It was a modular build, which meant all the units were pre-manufactured before being shipped to the site. The structure was then able to go up in a matter of just a few days earlier this year.
Fourhorns said the actual construction took place in a short period of time compared to the couple of years it look for the administration and paperwork involved.
Natoshia Bastien, president and CEO of Silver Sage Housing Corporation, said this project was “a really good example, I think, of the federal, municipal and provincial governments working with Indigenous organizations and government to contribute to solving some of the housing challenges that exist right now.”
Bastien said the fact this was an Indigenous build meant a lot. “It just demonstrates our capacity that we can solve our own housing problems and work with other governments to be able to do that.”
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