May 12, 2014 3:08 pm

At-risk single mothers get new supported living home in Saskatoon

At-risk single mothers have a new supported living home in Saskatoon due to a first of its kind funding model in Canada.

Joel Senick / Global News

SASKATOON – Private investors are hoping to give at-risk single mothers a safe haven in Saskatoon.

Sweet Dreams, a new supported living home in Saskatoon, opened today at 600 Queen St.

Building the home was made possible by a funding model called a social impact bond, the first of its kind in Canada.

“This new home is a wonderful example of what can be achieved when we work together and explore unique solutions to support vulnerable children and families,” said Social Services Minister June Draude.

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“Keeping families together is the goal of this project, and we are proud to work with our partners to make this goal a reality.”

Under the social impact bond, the government sets a specific social outcome it wants to achieve, gets the money from private investors and then repays those investors a pre-arranged sum if the service provider achieves the outcome after a specific time period.

For Sweet Dreams, the service provider is EGADZ, who will provide mothers with children under eight who are at risk of requiring Child and Family Services with a number of services including housing, education and life skills training.

The ultimate goal is to help families transition back into the community.

One of the private investors to step on board were Wally and Colleen Mah.

“We are happy to be partnered with EGADZ to assist the most vulnerable members of our community – our children,” said Wally Mah.

“This program gives at-risk mothers and children a chance at a better life and will ultimately support the entire fabric of our community,” added Colleen Mah.

The other investor is Conexus Credit Union. Together, the Mah’s and Conexus will give EGADZ one-million dollars under the social impact bond.

Another $535,000 in funding will come from the Government of Canada, the City of Saskatoon and other private investors.

The Sweet Dreams project is expected to save the Saskatchewan government between $540,000 and $1.5 million over five years.

Once fully functional, Sweet Dreams is expected to house between eight and 11 adults and eight to 15 children.

Mothers and their children will participate in the program for a minimum of two months up to a maximum of two years.

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