Regina low-income families in need of access to affordable housing are getting some help as winter approaches.
Eighty-nine newly-renovated social housing units were launched in Regina Monday, with a shared price tag of $12.5 million between the provincial and federal government.
Originally built in 1958, the two- and three-bedroom social housing units received renovations including reconfiguration of space, new kitchens, bathrooms, furnaces and appliances.
Minister of Social Services and Housing Gene Makowsky was on location to cut a ribbon in one of the renovated units in Regina’s Coronation Park neighbourhood Tuesday.
Makowsky said that per unit, renovations cost around $140,000, with most of the units already being filled. Some units are multi-storey, and rent will be adjusted to 30 per cent of a tenant’s income.
Makowsky said the units will help reduce the number of vacant lots in the city.
“We’ve made progress in terms of having more people in housing units as we turn them over,” he said.
“We’ve seen progress in our major centres over the last year and vacancies have gone down because we’ve turned over units.”
The new units are a welcome sight for the Regina Salvation Army, as executive director Karen Hoeft believes additional housing doesn’t just impact residents who use the home, but the community at large.
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“Housing is always something that every family needs in our city and our country,” Hoeft said. “When we add to the housing portfolio, it’s always a good thing to happen.”
Hoeft said more affordable housing options, especially ones with comfortable living conditions, means fewer people in shelters.
“Shelters are our last resort for people who fall through,” Hoeft said. “If you don’t build for strong healthy families in the next 20 30 years, then our community will pay a price for that.”
And while she stresses the importance of building new spaces, Hoeft also says that comes with a hefty price tag.
“When it comes to housing in our country, funding is always the underwriting,” she said. “We’re excited that families are going to have a place to live, but to build a new complex like that from the ground up, it’s millions of dollars.”
“It takes the commitment of all three levels of government. It takes the commitment of our communities. It takes us saying ‘we want in. We need housing for all citizens in our community.’”
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