By Bailey Sutherland, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

The Village of La Loche is working to provide affordable housing for their residents in the north by partnering with the federal and provincial governments to develop 28 tiny homes for individuals experiencing homelessness in the community.

Earlier Thursday afternoon, the Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion Ahmed Hussen, MLA for Athabasca Jim Lemaigre, on behalf of the Minister of Social Services and Minister Responsible for Saskatchewan Housing Corporation (SHC) Gene Makowsky, and representatives from La Loche’s Methy Housing Corporation celebrated the grand opening of the completion of the Nechile Sekoe Tiny Homes project, which created 20 one-bedroom units.

Eight additional one-bedroom units will be created during the second phase of the Methy Tiny Homes project, which starts immediately.

“The construction of 28 tiny homes that provide a safe and supportive housing environment for vulnerable homeless residents of our community is a much-welcomed project in La Loche, said President of Methy Housing Corporation, Georgina Joibois. “Methy Housing Corporation appreciates the continued funding support from Saskatchewan Housing Corporation and the Métis Nation – Homelessness Strategy Program. I also acknowledge the great work of our local construction crew in constructing the housing units.”

Methy Housing Corporation is a non-profit organization owned and operated by the Northern Village of La Loche that provides project management and construction services in the municipality, according to a media release from the Government of Saskatchewan.

The organization also employs a Support Services Coordinator who provides a variety of support services to their tenants, including employment training, adult education upgrading, post-secondary training, health services and counselling.

The two projects received $1.6 million in funding to develop 22 of the units through the Canada-Saskatchewan Bilateral Agreement under the National Housing Strategy. The remaining six units were funded by Métis-Nation Saskatchewan for a total of $88,000. $700,000 was also given to Methy Tiny Homes through Reaching Home: Canada’s Homelessness Strategy.

“The Government of Saskatchewan is working towards our goal to make affordable housing more accessible and to support families in greatest housing need. We are very proud to be part of these two important projects that offer safe and stable housing to people in need in La Loche. We will continue to work with our community partners to connect La Loche residents to affordable housing and support them in raising their families, planning for the future and building a life in their community,” said MLA Lemaigre.

This announcement builds on Thursday’s grand opening of the Prairie Pioneers Independent Housing project, four supportive housing units designed for individuals with brain injuries in Swift Current. The governments of Canada and Saskatchewan jointly provided $656,000 through the Canada–Saskatchewan Bilateral Agreement under the National Housing Strategy.

“Every Canadian deserves a safe place they can turn to in difficult times. Our Government is dedicated to helping those in need, which is why we are proud to invest in innovative tiny homes projects like Nechile Sekoe and Methy that bring new ideas to help house some of our most vulnerable Canadians. These homes are more than just safe and affordable places to live, they are key to a better life and a symbol of a fresh start for the residents,” said Minister Hussen. “This is another example of how our government’s National Housing Strategy continues to ensure no one is left behind.”

Canada’s National Housing Strategy (NHS) is a 10-year, $72+ billion plan that will give more Canadians a place to call home, says the media release. Pursuant to the NHS, the Canada-Saskatchewan Bilateral Agreement will invest $449.9 million over the next 10 years, cost matched by the federal and provincial governments. They have already reached agreement on the first three-year action plan.

Since 2007, SHC has created 137 affordable rental units, 23 affordable homeowner units and 12 professional staff rentals in La Loche. 70 of the housing units and 12 of the staff rentals were developed in partnership with Methy Housing Corporation.

(Top Photo: MN-S/Facebook)