The Round Prairie Elder’s Lodge is a 26-unit residence in Saskatoon aimed at housing Métis elders and giving them culturally based safe and affordable housing.
Several dignitaries, leaders, community members, and a couple of the new residence were on hand for a grand opening ceremony Friday morning.
The project was spearheaded by the Central Urban Métis Federation (CUMFI) whose president, Shirley Isbister says has been two decades in the making.
“For years we have seen our Elders struggle and make decisions between rent and other essentials such as medicine or food,” said Isbister. “CUMFI is proud to help in this small way to overcome these issues and we will continue to work for our Elders and people.”
Isbister also says she is excited to see some elders already in the rooms.
The project broke ground in April of this year and the CUMFI President says several people and organizations worked hard to ensure the lodge could accept residents starting this December.
So far 2 elders have moved in with the rest of the rooms expected to be filled in the upcoming weeks.
The project was funded through several organizations and governments including the Métis Nation-Saskatchewan, the Indigenous Homes Innovations Initiative, along with help from the federal, provincial, and municipal governments.
The following is a breakdown of the funding provided for the project:
• Indigenous Services Canada through the Indigenous Homes Innovation Initiative: $2,293,077
• The Métis Nation-Saskatchewan: $1,500,00
• Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation – $683,845 (forgivable loan), $1,609,386 (repayable loan)
• Saskatchewan Housing Corporation: $632,845
• City of Saskatoon: $178,437
“I offer congratulations to the Central Urban Métis Federation on the successful project to provide culturally relevant accommodations to Métis elders,” said Sean Willy from the the Indigenous Homes Innovation Initiative.
“This project exemplifies the success we can achieve through partnerships,” added MN-S President Glen McCallum. “We are pleased to be involved in such a well-rounded, culturally appropriate housing project dedicated to our elders.”
Staff of the building also say the lodge will be a gathering place in the community and Pleasant Hill neighbourhood to host meals and cultural activities.
(PHOTO: The Round Prairie Elder’s Lodge in Saskatoon. Photo by Joel Willick)