After weeks of hearing concerns from residents, the City of Regina approved the go-ahead of the City’s first permanent supportive housing project.
With the approval of the Rapid Housing Initiative, the City will now transfer land at 120 Broad Street, formally the Zion United Church, to Silver Sage Holdings Ltd. and the Regina Treaty Indian Service to build and operate the 29-unit facility.
After looking at several sites, City Manager Chris Holden said they felt 120 Broad Street was the best location.
“It was in a community that had a lot of amenities that would support the residents that would live within that complex,” he said. “We have park space; we have schools; we have it connected closely to a transit service.”
The facility has the goal to help serve individuals who are experiencing chronic homelessness. It will receive funding in conjunction with the federal, provincial, and municipal governments. The City is expecting to pay around 1.2 million dollars.
Mayor Sandra Masters explained more about what the project is.
“It is intended to house folks who are ready to leave a shelter experience, a congregate living experience to live on their own, but they require supports,” she said. “Those supports can include counselling, can include support going through education, they can include family reunification, but it’s really intended for folks to transition them in towards independent living, teaching life skills.”
Some of the concerns from residents featured the close proximity to schools and daycares, the lack of information given to the community about the project ahead of time, and the possibility of single men residing in the facility that might pose a danger to the young boys and girls in the community.
Holden said that City Administration could have done a better job providing information.
“This is one where City Administration should have anticipated that there would be a concern,” he stated. “It’s not that people are against this type of project in their community, but they do need to understand it; they need to have information.”
“Had we been able to provide that information earlier in the process, I don’t think we would have had as much concern,” Holden added.
Masters also said that City has to make sure its residents understand what is happening and provide information
“I think my frustration with this has been that given the last year, we could have probably predicted that people are very sensitive to their neighbourhoods, and it’s from noise to garbage, to building, to everything. We also know that people are fatigued with COVID and restrictions, and so everyone is on edge,” she said. “I just feel when we can get out and get more information, more education in front of people, people may disagree with you, but at least they’ve been heard.”
“It’s unfortunate; my apology to Ward 7 was very much attended to be about that lack and sharing of information so that misinformation didn’t breed.”
The current plan is to have the people moved into the units sometime between October and December later this year.