One-and-a-half million dollars in repairs have been made to three inner-city Saskatoon buildings as part of a move to address the affordable housing shortage.

Fifty-one new rental units are now available in two buildings on 22nd Street West and another on 7th Street East.

Saskatoon Tribal Council Chief Felix Thomas says a lack of affordable housing in the city is a serious issue affecting many Aboriginal people.

“What we found is a lot of our First Nations moving in couldn’t access jobs because they didn’t have any place to stay,” he says. “Not only for those accessing jobs but those going to school.”

Thomas adds a booming economy and increasing population have exacerbated what was already a low vacancy rate for affordable rental housing.

“Saskatoon and Regina, along with a lot of other areas, don’t have a high vacancy rate and over the last number of years a lot of available apartments have been converted into condos.”

Partners in the project include the federal and provincial governments and Cress Housing Corporation which is part of STC.

Prior to the repairs, the three buildings were vacant.

Repairs include roofing upgrades, new boilers and window replacement.