YWCA looking for community support as Transitional Housing Unit project enters final planning stage

Herald file photo.

The Prince Albert YWCA is looking for letters of support for a new housing project designed to help youth from troubled backgrounds find affordable living space.

It’s called a Transitional Housing Unit, and will be located on 28th Street East if all goes according to plan. The YWCA has had discussions with Sask. Housing about purchasing a four-plex in the area, having recently received final approval for the project from the Ministry of Social Services.

YWCA Executive Director Donna Brooks said Prince Albert needs more youth housing projects like this one. She’s hoping the community will step up and offer their support.

“Normally when young people reach the age of 18, 19, or 20, they move out on their own and they get their first apartment and so forth and they usually have the support of their families and the support of their parents to help them apply (and) to help them navigate life for their first few years,” Brooks explained. “There are a lot of youth out there who don’t have the support of family or they have a dysfunctional family or they have no family at all, so they don’t have the supportive parents to help them transition into their own place, into adulthood.”

If purchased, the four-plex apartment would provide housing for six youth between the ages of 18 and 21, as well as office space for one youth outreach support worker. Ideally, the program will aid youth who age out of the YWCA’s Youth Peer Support Homes.

However, Sask. Housing has requested letters of municipal and community support before the purchase becomes final. The YWCA is hoping to collect all letters by July 4.

“Any time you apply for funding, you’re accessing taxpayer’s dollars,” Brooks said. “(It’s) to be able to show that you have the support of the community and the support of other organizations (and) to be more successful with your funding application.”

The YWCA has spent multiple years working on this project. If all goes according to plan, they’ll have the Transitional Housing Unit up and running within a year.