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New affordable housing supports open in North Battleford

A new affordable housing project is now open in North Battleford. The Governments of Canada and Saskatchewan, along with the City of North Battleford and Battlefords Indian Métis Friendship Centre (BIMFC), officially opened the project following an announcement on July 23.

The new housing options will give safe housing for up to eight individuals along with the supervision and supports they may require to help break the cycle of homelessness. Located at 1132 98 street, the project consists of an eight-bedroom (including three that are accessible) bungalow style rooming house approximately 3,350 square feet (311.22 square metres) in size. The home includes social spaces, storage, a dining area and kitchen as well as space for group meetings and planning.

The project is part of the Government of Canada’s National Housing Strategy, a 10-year, $55 billion plan to create 100,000 new housing units and lift 530,000 families out of housing need, as well as repair and renew more than 300,000 housing units and reduce chronic homelessness by 50 per cent. Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and Minister Responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) Jean-Yves Duclos believes the new supports will greatly benefit the community.

“The National Housing Strategy prioritizes the housing needs of Canada’s most vulnerable groups which is why we are proud to have invested in this project in North Battleford for people experiencing homelessness,” said Duclos. “This new eight-bed home is more than just (a) safe and affordable place to live, it’s the key to a better life for residents here. There’s an inherent connection between dignity and housing, and I’m proud to support organizations like Battlefords Indian Métis Friendship Centre and the important work they do to help rebuild lives and create stronger, safer communities.”

The Government of Canada, through CMHC, and the Government of Saskatchewan, through SHC, jointly contributed up to $580,000 towards the project under the Canada-Saskatchewan Investment in Affordable Housing Agreement. North Battleford provided $108,000 to this project for the land and the costs of site servicing. Ryan Bater, mayor of North Battleford,  is happy with the partnership and looks forward to how it can better the city.

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“The City of North Battleford is pleased to be a partner in this new affordable housing project,” said Bater. “Providing safe, affordable and sustainable housing as a crucial first step in addressing homelessness is the kind of transformative thinking required. This initiative will become a key component in a continuum of services and supports needed in our region.”

BIMFC received a $130,000 community development corporation grant from the Battlefords Agency Tribal Chiefs for this project. An additional $10,000 was approved by CMHC. Support services will be provided in-kind by various partners and include health assessments and referrals, mental health and addictions referrals and support, life skills, a mentorship program with indigenous elders and any other identified support services required. Jackie Kennedy, executive director of BIMFC, expressed excitement over how the housing will help the community prosper.

“Battlefords Indian Métis Friendship Centre is proud to support Haven-4-Eight along with all funding partners, our board and staff, and the builders of this beautiful home,” said Kennedy. “This project provides hope for these eight occupants and for our larger community when looking to break the cycle of homelessness. We look forward to embracing our future together and empowering one another to seek safer, healthier lives.”

BIMFC has been providing a wide variety of programs and services to the community since 1970 and has provided an emergency shelter in the winter months over the last five years. This project upholds the Province’s Housing Strategy, Poverty Reduction Strategy and Mental Health and Addictions Action Plan.

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