Affordable se­niors’ hous­ing an in­no­va­tive and re­ward­ing group ef­fort

The Southwest Booster - - FRONT PAGE - ELISABETHD­OWSON SOUTH­WEST BOOSTER

Twenty-four se­niors’ hous­ing units be­ing built next to the ex­ist­ing Prairie Pi­o­neers In­de­pen­dent Hous­ing de­vel­op­ment will en­able more se­niors to re­main in the com­mu­nity, thanks to affordable rent made pos­si­ble by a three-way part­ner­ship be­tween fed­eral and pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ments and the City of Swift Cur­rent.

“I am de­lighted to see con­struc­tion con­tin­u­ing on this pro­ject, which was made pos­si­ble through Canada’s Eco­nomic Ac­tion Plan,” said Cy­press-Hills-Grass­lands MP David An­der­son on be­half of Diane Fin­ley, Min­is­ter of Hu­man Re­sources and Skills De­vel­op­ment and Min­is­ter Re­spon­si­ble for Canada Mort­gage and Hous­ing Cor­po­ra­tion, at the sod-turn­ing event hosted June 17.

“When com­plete, this de­vel­op­ment will pro­vide qual­ity affordable liv­ing for more se­niors, al­low­ing them to re­main in the com­mu­nity they know and love.”

So­cial Ser­vices Min­is­ter and Min­is­ter re­spon­si­ble for Saskatchew­an Hous­ing Cor­po­ra­tion, June Draude, com­mended the City of Swift Cur­rent for “think­ing out­side the box” and said she would be chal­leng­ing other com­mu­ni­ties through­out the prov­ince to do the same.

“I am re­ally happy and as­tounded that the City of Swift Cur­rent has done some­thing that I’ve never heard of be­fore, and that’s a life­time tax abate­ment for these units,” said Draude. “We talk about how part­ner­ships can work with other com­mu­ni­ties around the prov­ince. I think Swift Cur­rent is re­ally lead­ing the pack when it comes to be­ing in­no­va­tive.

“I un­der­stand that right now, that tax abate­ment on a yearly ba­sis is [worth] about $80,000. We’ve put in $1.2 mil­lion; the fed­eral gov­ern­ment has matched it,” Draude added.

Swift Cur­rent’s Acting Mayor Dan Martens said, “The work and ded­i­ca­tion that [PPIH] has put for­ward for so many years is truly amaz­ing. Their vi­sion has pro­vided affordable rental ac­com­mo­da­tions for our val­ued se­nior pop­u­la­tion and has had a pos­i­tive im­pact on our en­tire com­mu­nity.”

“To make a pro­ject of this mag­ni­tude move for­ward, it takes a strong be­lief and strong part­ner­ships,” said Harold Martens of PPHI. “To­day we can see first hand these agen­cies suc­cess­fully work­ing to­gether for the com­mon goal. Thank you Min­is­ter Draude and David An­der­son for your gov­ern­ments’ fi­nan­cial sup­port. The gen­er­ous par­tic­i­pa­tion of Sask Hous­ing and CMHC were def­i­nite crit­i­cal com­po­nents mov­ing this pro­ject for­ward.”

Martens added, “There is a con­tri­bu­tion by the tax­pay­ers, not only of Swift Cur­rent but also by the tax­pay­ers of Canada and Saskatchew­an. We don’t want to for­get that. Seventy per cent of the cost of this will be for­given over 15 years to pro­vide hous­ing in Swift Cur­rent and area. It’s a sign of a sense of re­spon­si­bil­ity to se­niors and I think it’s an im­por­tant thing to do.”

John Wall has been on the PPIH board of direc­tors for about 16 years and says it is his per­sonal mis­sion to en­sure that se­niors can af­ford to live in safe, se­cure and affordable hous­ing.

“I’ve seen a lot of growth, and this last pro­ject has been very ex­cit­ing for us. This pro­ject is im­por­tant be­cause it will pro­vide low-cost hous­ing for se­niors that are in the lower in­comes.

“Some of them make $1,200 or less a month, and they pay $800 for rent, it’s just not affordable, so this is what we try to pro­vide. I think it’s a good pro­ject. The rent will prob­a­bly be $450, $475, and we’re try­ing to keep it as low as we can.”

The amend­ment to the Canada-Saskatchew­an Affordable Hous­ing Pro­gram Agree­ment, which in­cluded fund­ing un­der Canada’s Eco­nomic Ac­tion Plan, signed in May 2009, brought fed­eral hous­ing sup­port of $74 mil­lion to Saskatchew­an.

The Gov­ern­ment of Saskatchew­an is match­ing that com­mit­ment for a to­tal of $148 mil­lion to as­sist those in hous­ing need and, in col­lab­o­ra­tion with other lev­els of gov­ern­ment and com­mu­nity part­ners, to make var­i­ous types of affordable hous­ing pro­grams pos­si­ble. In Saskatchew­an, fed­er­al­provin­cial hous­ing pro­grams are de­liv­ered through the Saskatchew­an Hous­ing Cor­po­ra­tion.

“There’s a hous­ing con­tin­uum in need, from parental stages right through own­er­ship, and we have to un­der­stand what’s go­ing to be needed as the prov­ince grows,” said Min­is­ter Draude.

“We have five four-plexes and two du­plexes, with 24 units,” noted Wall. “There about 550 square feet, they have in-floor heat­ing which is good for se­niors. It’s like a park set­ting, and it’s beau­ti­ful. We’re very for­tu­nate to have ob­tained the prop­erty from the city a few years ago.

Cy­press Hills-Grass­lands MP David An­der­son, So­cial Ser­vices Min­is­ter June Draude, Acting Mayor Dan Martens and Harold Martens of Prairie Pi­o­neers In­de­pen­dent Hous­ing Cor­po­ra­tion of­fi­cially turned the sod for a 24-unit se­niors hous­ing com­plex on June 17.

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