Quint Development Corporation celebrated its 20th anniversary with a party at Station 20 West on Thursday.
The community development group was started by residents from the core neighbourhoods of Saskatoon’s West End in 1995. The founders wanted to help get people into affordable homes.
Manager Len Usiskin said that from that beginning, Quint has grown to manage 72 units of affordable housing. They’ve also expanded into other programming, such as initiatives to help people get driver’s licenses and find work.
Usiskin said growth in Saskatoon has come with many challenges.
“People’s incomes, especially people at the lower end of the economic ladder, their incomes have not gone up anywhere near what real estate has gone up,” he said.
Usiskin said rapid growth has also put the squeeze on the group’s resources, as higher prices for land and materials make building more expensive.
“It’s been almost like this almost perfect storm. The need has risen and our capacity to deliver (affordable housing) has diminished,” he said.
But as performers took the stage and people began lining up for snacks, Usiskin said he was still proud of Quint’s work, and was looking forward to starting a new project in Pleasant Hill next spring.
Paula Howe was one of Quint’s early clients. She said the group took on a mortgage for her and her husband in 1998, allowing them to effectively rent-to-own the home they took ownership of in 2004.
Howe said that even all these years later, she still appreciates owning the roof over her head.
“Coming home and actually being able to relax and realizing this is our home, this is our safe haven, and no one can come in here and kick us out,”