An emergency housing project designed to fill gaps in housing support for Saskatoon youth officially opened its doors on Monday.
EGADZ’s newest endeavour, called Ground Zero Youth Transition Home, offers 10 bedrooms to help teens aged 15 to 19 transition to independence by providing supports such as mental health and substance use, social services and medical outreach.
The non-profit organization said clients will also have access to nutrition programming, 24-7 on-site staff support and case planning that is both youth-centred and youth-driven.
“We are honoured to be involved in such an important program that has been driven by the youth from day one,” EGADZ executive director Don Meikle said in a statement.
“Not only have we gained a needed service for youth; we were also able to use this opportunity to expand and improve on Sweet Dreams. This has been a win-win for youth and families in Saskatchewan.”
Sweet Dreams Early Learning Centre provides safe housing to independent mothers while they work on completing their education or acquiring employment, according to EGADZ.
Provincial government officials said Ground Zero is Saskatoon’s first “for youth, by youth” emergency shelter.
“This new housing program has been entirely driven by the youth committee to ensure it meets the unique needs of the youth who will access Ground Zero,” Social Services Minister Lori Carr said in a press release.
“I applaud the incredible work and passion demonstrated by this group of young people to get this program off the ground and thank EGADZ for their tireless work strengthening Saskatchewan youth, families and communities.”
The government said it’s committing $1.1 million annually to support the new program, with the Saskatchewan Health Authority also providing $244,000.