Delegations debate proposed Regina Rapid Housing Initiative site
A full list of delegations shared their thoughts about a proposed Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI) site, at a Regina executive committee meeting Wednesday.
City administration recommends the committee and city council approve the land transfer of 120 Broad Street, and the city’s remaining Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation capital funding to Silver Sage Holdings ltd., to deliver the RHI.
According to the city, RHI is a capital funding program developed by the federal government to support the creation of new affordable rental housing to help address the urgent housing needs of vulnerable Canadians. Regina has been given $7.75 million through this program.
Silver Sage Holdings has partnered with Regina Treaty/ Status Indian Services (RT/SIS), through a city selection process, to build and run a 29 affordable housing units, with a focus on permanent supportive housing, set to open in December 2022.
A condition of the funding is that a minimum of 25 per cent of the units will be targeted towards women or women and their children; 15 per cent of units targeted towards Indigenous residents, and manage an inclusive space for men, women, children and LGBTQ2S+ residents.
City reports state the housing will also have wrap-around supports for residents, including addictions and family services.
Organizations like the Homelessness Community Advisory Board stated their support for this project and its location. So did former homelessness and housing consultants for the City of Regina.
“The proposed RHI is exactly in keeping with the city’s plan and the recommendations that were made, at least going back to 2009,” Marc Spooner, a former consultant, said.
He added he knows people are concerned about having this unit close to a school, but said it’s a golden opportunity for the children who may end up living in the building “to attend the nearby school and benefit from the stability this housing opportunity will provide.”
Spooner said putting the RHI on the proposed 120 Broad St. site could also de-stigmatized supportive housing and those who need it.
Residents said they aren’t necessarily against the project, but are concerned about where it could be located. The proposed site is down the street from Imperial Community School, the Highland Curling Club and a number of daycares.
“However way you slice it, you cannot have a bunch of single men living a block from the school,” area resident Donna Hudgin said. “There is some unsafe situation when there are single men around.”
The city report said residents will be offered the option to move into this space only after working with RT/SIS for six to 12 months. They will also not be eligible if they have any sexual charges or convictions or are deemed dangerous offenders.
“But they’re going to have records,” Hudgin added. “Beside a school is not safe.”
RT/SIS emphasized this RHI site will be set up like an apartment building, so it’s not a congregational site.
“It’s a misconception that people here will have mental health issues or addictions issues,” Erica Beaudin, executive director of RT/SIS, said. “That is not the case at all, every situation is unique and different. While that might be a concern or an issue in somebody’s life, that is not a given that it is.”
She added she is very excited about the location and the opportunity to provide proper supports for people getting back on their feet, as well as providing Indigenous supports.
A few delegations complained about the lack of transparency and communication with the residents.
Chris Holden, city manager, admitted the city didn’t take the opportunity to engage with residents, which resulted in some some misinformation being spread about the project. But going forward, the city said it will communicate more with residents, community associations and stakeholders
City council will review the report and vote at its next meeting on February 2.
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