The Saskatoon Indian and Metis Friendship Centre will be receiving over $1.2 million in funding over the next two years to help address housing needs in the city.

Over the past year, 80 homeless people have been housed in Saskatoon through several different agencies. However, many people in the city are still left without a home.

That’s why the Government of Canada’s Homelessness Partnering Strategy will be providing over $1.3 million in funding to agencies within the city.

The Saskatoon Indian and Metis Friendship Centre will be receiving the majority of that funding, which it will use for existing and new staff.

These staffing positions will be dedicated to projects to address homelessness.

The funding announcement was made Monday morning at the Friendship Centre, which Executive Director Bill Mintram said is a huge step forward.

“Our mandate is to improve the quality of life for Aboriginal people in the City of Saskatoon,” said Mintram. “We know that Aboriginal people are still experiencing homelessness and we are working with our community towards reducing and hopefully ending homelessness.”

Mintram said they already have three people hired for housing initiative projects and will now be able to hire four more positions to help battle homelessness in the city.

“These new and existing positions will allow us to go beyond just getting someone a place to sleep for the night,” he said. “When they get into a new home we can make sure they have a mattress to sleep on and some groceries in the fridge to ensure they feel that sense of home.”

The Lighthouse Supported Living Centre will also receive nearly $70,000 to hire a case worker position.

Both the Friendship Centre and the Lighthouse will be receiving an additional $47,000 in capital funding for furniture and equipment.

Representatives from both agencies say the funding will be a small step to improve the overall quality of life for many individuals in the city.