Fusion 22 is a partnership between EGADZ, the Ministry of Social Services and the Saskatoon Housing Authority (SHA). Seven families are currently living in the apartment building.
Keys weren’t just handed over. Families had to build up 50 hours of sweat equity by helping to renovate and clean the building. Units were in rough shape, but now look clean with new carpets and a fresh coat of paint.
“It’s a real job and they can get fired if they’re not doing the job,” EGADZ executive director Don Meikle said.
Fusion 22 aims to go beyond providing safe homes. The program is meant to encourage young people to live independent and fulfilling lifestyles.
Kayla Rabbitskin has been in her new unit for almost one month.
“I think this is the first place that I’ve actually really felt at home,” Rabbitskin said.
Rabbitskin and her partner, Clayton, have a five-year-old daughter and it hasn’t always been easy. The young couple is about to celebrate their second Christmas being sober. They were given the tools to continue their sobriety and have both found employment.
“It really feels like I do have support with my life and our family,” Rabbitskin said.
Everyone in the building must be clean and sober to ensure it’s safe for all families.
“It’s their home because they are contributing and they are doing it. It’s not just something that’s given to them — it’s something they’re doing for themselves,” Meikle said.
EGADZ hopes families will eventually have the stability and means to move out of the building, so new families can fill the units.
Most of the furniture and house supplies are donated. Gently used items are still being accepted as more families move into the building.