River Bank Development funded for four more large family homes

(L to R) MLA Nicole Rancourt, Ward 4 Coun. Don Cody, River Bank Development Corporation manager Brian Howell, MLA Joe Hargrave and CMHC representative Christina Johnson help cut the ribbon Tuesday to mark the completion of construction on six renovated affordable housing units designed for larger families. (Peter Lozinski/Daily Herald)

A project that sees existing properties redeveloped to accommodate large, low-income families has received an extra boost from the federal and provincial governments.

River Bank Development Corporation was one of five organizations that received joint funding form the pair of governments Thursday. A total of $465,000 was allocated to the Homes of Hope project, to renovate four single-family homes. The project is a continuation of one that held a grand opening on Sept. 18.

“There’s a major shortage in the local housing market of houses that size, so we expand on basements, put bedrooms in the basement, install new windows and make it so a larger family can find enough bedrooms for their children,” River Bank Development CEO Brian Howell said at the time.

Yesterday, Howell said the government funding enables the corporation “to provide adequate housing for families” and allows for his organization to grow and become more self-sufficient.

These projects are beneficial not just because they can be cheaper than building a new home from scratch, but also because of the jobs they create.

“there is some work to be done on the houses, so it generates some employment. All in all, it’s a good thing.”

The organization is up to 100 units added over the last 15 years it has been in operation.

‘We’ve chosen a path of slow and incremental growth, and it’s been working very well for us. This is a longstanding partnership between the provincial government and non-profit organizations to build housing in Saskatchewan. It’s added considerably to our communities.”

Other organizations receiving funding Thursday included Gabriel Hous9ing Corporation in Regina ($570,000 for four units for hard-to-house families), Oxford House in Regina ($470,000 for two five-bed co-housing units for individuals living independently who require some supports), $450,000 for local housing authorities in la Loche and Ile-a-la-Crosse (two single-family units under the Trades Training Program) and Lighthouse in Saskatoon ($434,000 for 10 co-housing spaces for individuals who can live independently with limited support)