A new housing project in Saskatoon is getting support to help reduce HIV rates in babies, and provide supports to mothers in need.
The federal and provincial governments announced $765,500 in joint funding for a 10-unit affordable housing bungalow in the Pleasant Hill neighbourhood on Monday.
Named Sanctum 1.5, the home will provide living space and supports for pre-and-post-natal mothers who have, or are at risk of contracting, HIV.
Set to open in September, the home is being developed by Stewart Properties and will receive operational support from Sanctum Care Group.
Sanctum Executive Director Katelyn Roberts said many pregnant women living with HIV are in unstable situations, often couch surfing and dealing with addictions.
“They don’t have housing, they don’t have support and they’re living in crisis,” she said.
“That’s when it becomes difficult to stabilize a mom on HIV medication. We know that if we can offer wraparound support and care, then they can take their medication.”
She noted when mothers take the proper medication, the risk of “vertical transmission” of HIV to their babies is reduced to two per cent.
Another goal of the housing project is to help women be in a position to keep their babies out of foster care.
“Because of the lack of support while they were pregnant, that baby gets apprehended (shortly after birth) and that critical bond between mother and baby doesn’t take place,” she said.
The 3,800 square foot home will feature 10 bedrooms, four bathrooms and a common kitchen on the main floor. The basement will feature spaces for recreation, offices and services along with storage.
In addition to the federal and provincial funding, the City of Saskatoon is also contributing $100,000 to the project.
“Those kids are going to have a much better chance to bring forward their future,” Mayor Charlie Clark said. “This is an incredible way that we build a stronger community.”
Feds, Province provice $6.7 million across Sask.
The funding for the Sanctum 1.5 project was part of a larger announcement Monday regarding affordable housing in Saskatchewan.
The federal and provincial governments said they were providing a total of $6.7 million to create 53 affordable housing units through seven projects across the province — including the Sanctum project.
The largest portion of funding — $2.54 million — will go towards creating 10 affordable renting units in La Ronge.
Also receiving funding:
Pinehouse Lake — $1.1 million to Pinehouse Housing Corporation for nine rental housing units
La Loche — $640,000 to Methy Housing Corporation for six single-parent family housing units
Prince Albert — $612,500 to the Canadian Mental Health Association for six units geared towards people with complex needs and mental illness
Regina — $570,000 for Gabriel Housing Corporation to create six units for families who require support services to live independently
Battlefords — $500,000 to Battleford Indian and Metis Friendship Centre for an eight-unit co-housing project for the chronically and episodically homeless
Maryam Monsef, federal minister for the status of women, was on-hand to announce the funding.
She noted her family lived in a similar affordable housing project when they moved to Canada as refugees, and it was an important support as she grew up.
“It was safety networks like social housing that allowed me to continue my education and to finish,” she said.
“This is the Canadian dream, isn’t it? That regardless of what cards you were dealt with when you were born, you have the opportunity in this country to succeed and to reach your dreams.”
The funding is being provided as part of the federal government’s National Housing Strategy, a $40 billion project aimed at creating 100,000 affordable housing units with the goal of eliminating the housing needs of 530,000 families.
The government said their 10-year plan could reduce chronic homelessness by 50 per cent.