The Saskatoon Tribal Council (STC) in partnership with the Federal Government, the province of Saskatchewan, the City of Saskatoon, and Saskatoon Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP) opened the doors to Īkwēskīcik iskwēwak (which means “turning your life around”), a transitional home for women moving back into society following incarceration at the Pine Grove Correctional Centre.
In the fall of 2021, STC was awarded $3.8 million dollars through the National Housing Strategy’s Rapid Housing Initiative Phase 2 (RHI2) Cities stream to construct an affordable housing development of 18 units. Located at 115 Columbian Place in Saskatoon, the facility will offer up to 18 months of support for women who have been jailed for minor offences. Programming will focus on healing and wellness, education, training and employment and cultivating positive family relationships.
“Giving these women a chance to regain their independence and a place to call home is the right thing to do.” Tribal Chief Mark Arcand said. “Īkwēskīcik iskwēwak will make an incredible difference in our society and hopefully help break a negative cycle for some.”
“No relationship is more important to our government than the one with Indigenous Peoples. Our support for the Saskatoon Tribal Council will ensure residents have access to safe, affordable housing in their own communities. This project will not only deliver more housing opportunities, it will also support women as they transition back into society while supporting the social and economic well-being of the entire community. Through our government’s National Housing Strategy, we are working with Indigenous partners to ensure Indigenous communities have access to housing that meets their needs.” – The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion
“Through the Rapid Housing Initiative, our government is creating homes and a sense of belonging. These projects are giving people a foundation to build their lives and grow within their communities. By addressing the housing crisis facing Canadians, we are making a real difference in people’s lives. I am excited to be part of this initiative and I know it is going to bring about some great changes.” – George Chahal, Member of Parliament for Calgary Skyview
“Right now, many women being released from custody face significant challenges in finding a safe and stable home. The Saskatoon Tribal Council’s Īkwēskīcik iskwēwak project will provide this badly needed housing. It will help them get on a good path and give them a better chance to rebuild their lives, and reconnect and support their families. This Rapid Housing Initiative development will play a crucial role in helping to fill this gap in our community.” – Charlie Clark, Mayor of Saskatoon
The Province of Saskatchewan has provided $3.6 million to the program over three years through the ministries of Corrections, Policing and Public Safety; Justice and Attorney General; and Health. The Saskatchewan Housing Corporation has also provided $486,000 towards the construction of the suites.
“This is a major evolution in how we support people as they transition out of correctional facilities, and we are proud to partner with the Saskatoon Tribal Council on this innovative approach,” Minister of Corrections, Policing and Public Safety Christine Tell said.
Each woman that enters the program is thoroughly screened by the Province and facility employees prior to taking residence in one of the bachelor suites available. The housing facility is staffed and monitored 24 hours and day 7 days a week.
“There is a significant gap in transitional housing in Saskatoon and the opening of Ikweskicik Iskwewak will provide a safe place to heal and deliver necessary support to women.”- Brenda Dreaver, Interim Executive Director SHIP
This project was designed and built by 3twenty Modular in Saskatoon.