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Rapid Housing Initiative project’s modular units go up in Regina

Home Fire Complex “craning” of the modular units is done, plus the building now has a name: misatimosimôwin mîhkowâp.

REGINA - A major milestone has been achieved in the construction of the City of Regina’s Rapid Housing Initiative - Home Fire complex in Regina.

All the modular units at the location at the corner of 120 Broad Street and 5th Avenue are now up. Workers from Big Block Construction put the units into place  this week, and completed the craning process on Thursday a day ahead of schedule, right before the snow hit. 

On that day, cranes carefully lifted and lodged some 20,000 square feet of pre-built modular building units into place. 

Supporters of the project got a tour of the building Friday morning and found that the units already had interiors mostly finished, including such amenities as counters, cupboards, washrooms and so on. 

Because the units are prebuilt, the actual building went up very fast, marking a noticeable change at the location for those passing by on Broad St. as the units were all put up in a matter of only a couple of days.

There is still plenty of work left to do to finish the building and give the exterior of the building a distinctive look. 

Architect David T. Fortin was taken on to do the design of the building and it was explained that a number of traditional Indigenous elements were included. It was noted in a news release that Fortin worked with Linda Obey-Lavallee, a local artist, on the pattern on sunshades and the canopy design, as well as on the 15 angled support columns on the building meant to represent poles of a typical tipi. 

The idea is for the building design to have elements to make it feel like home for the residents there.

Alex Miller, Big Block Construction CEO, said at the event Friday that this “marked a shift from product centred buildings to what you’re seeing here are relationship-centred buildings. Relationships that have come together so far, relationships that will come together through the building once it’s completed.”

Silver Sage Housing Corporation has partnered with Regina Treaty/Status Indian Services on the project, which when completed will see 29 units of supportive housing for those either experiencing or at risk of homelessness in Regina. 

Funding for the project is from the Federal Government’s National Housing Strategy Rapid Housing Initiative, Saskatchewan Housing Corporation and the City of Regina. Minister of Social Services Gene Makowsky and Mayor Sandra Masters were among those on hand for the event Friday.

At the event Friday morning, it was announced the finished project will have a name: misatimosimôwin mîhkowâp, which is Cree for Horse Dance Lodge.

The next step is for completion of site work in August and then for a building opening ceremony and ribbon cutting in September, at which time the first tenants will begin their occupancy. 

“It’s been a great journey so far, we still have a ways to go, said Natoshia Bastien, President & CEO Silver Sage Housing Corporation, who told the audience in her remarks that her company’s role is as “the stewards of this property like the stewards of the land. Our role is to ensure it’s maintained as an affordable and safe space for tenants and community for the lifespan of the building.”