Feds allocate nearly $8-million to help Regina secure more affordable housing

The City of Regina is receiving over $7-million in funding from the federal government to help provide housing for the city’s homeless.

The $7.8-million, in addition to $1-million allocated by the City, will create 29 new affordable homes through the City’s Rapid Housing Initiative (RIH).

Minister Responsible for the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) Adam Vaughan says having proper housing not only ends homelessness, but it also goes a long way towards reconciliation.

“While we share a history that has been troubled, our focus has got to be on now and the future, and building a stronger today and a stronger tomorrow, and it begins with housing,” said Vaughan. “It begins with making sure that we respond to, not the need to return people to homes, but to shelter and places to heal, and places to build that better future.”

He says it’s important for the federal government to put the money into the hands of municipalities, as they know the needs of the community best.

While poverty may cause homelessness, Vaughan says research shows health issues keep people homelessness. He adds the pandemic showed how important having a home is to overall health.

“Covid showed us that the most important medicine that was assigned to individuals, long before we even knew there were vaccines, was a home,” said Vaughan. “Public health officials right across this country told you to go home to be safe, to isolate if you were ill, or felt ill, in a home. If you didn’t have a home, that medicine wasn’t available to you. So, we know that housing is an extension of the health system.”

Vaughan says trying to solve homelessness will cost much less than trying to manage it.

Mayor Sandra Masters says around 2,000 experience homelessness every year in Regina, around 200 of those are chronically homeless.

She adds this funding will help speed up the City’s plan to end homelessness.

“Council endorsed a report last year, the five-year plan to end chronic and episodic homelessness here in the city, which gave us guidance with respect to where we should focus our attention,” said Masters. “A high-priority was the creation of permanent, supportive housing options. With $7.8-million in federal funds announced today, we are one step closer to making that a reality, in fact, making it a reality even faster than we expected.”

Masters says the City is going to begin the consultation process immediately, with the goal of having the new housing ready by the fall.

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