Maurice Koszman, first vice-president of the Saskatchewan Elks Association, speaks at a press conference Thursday morning on Maple Street East. At the presser, it was announced that renovations would be made to 20 one-bedroom, low-income seniors suites in the city. Times-Herald photo by Nathan Liewicki
For nearly 10 years, Gladys Nelson has enjoyed a great view from her home on Maple Street East.
It doesn’t hurt that she only pays $275 a month for her one-bedroom residence.
“Our suites are very nice,” said Nelson. “Never could you get a place in Moose Jaw that is this affordable for a one-bedroom.”
With that affordability comes the ability for Nelson to spend money she might otherwise be paying for rent on other activities.
“I can put the extra money I have toward hobbies, such as swimming, going out for suppers, hitting the gym and playing cards,” Nelson noted.
Nelson is one of a small handful of low-income seniors who dwell in 20 affordable one-bedroom suites, in 10 duplexes, located along the 100 and 200 blocks of Maple Street East.
Residents will receive upgrades to their residences thanks to a joint investment from the Saskatchewan and Canadian governments.
“There's, I think, $2 billion set aside this year across Canada. This project qualified as one of the one's that should be funded,” Palliser MP Ray Boughen said regarding affordable housing.
Boughen, along with Moose Jaw North MLA Warren Michelson and Mayor Deb Higgins were in attendance for Thursday’s announcement.
The upgrades will be undertaken by the Saskatchewan Elks Foundation Corp.
Throughout the province, the Elks have had a helping hand in upgrading 131 units.
“One of the building blocks of our organizations is service,” said Saskatchewan Elks Association first vice-president Maurice Koszman. “The Elks have been ready to lend their money, effort and indeed their labour to those in need.”
The total cost of renovations is pegged at approximately $588,000. The Canadian government, through Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and the province of Saskatchewan, through Saskatchewan Housing Corporation, contributed a total of about $449,000. The Elks provided the $139,000 balance through cash equity.
“When I move out of here, I'm moving straight to the bone yard.” Gean Nurse
This funding comes as a result of the $55 million Canada-Saskatchewan Investment in Affordable Housing 2011-2014 Agreement. This money allows the province to create new and renovate existing affordable housing for households in need.
“This funding will help the people of Moose Jaw access safe and affordable housing that meets their needs,” said Boughen.
Gean Nurse couldn’t agree more with Boughen.
She has been living in these suites for 12 years and, like Nelson, she only pays $275 a month for rent. Nurse added that the only things she is responsible for paying is gas and power.
“In 12 years I have all new doors and windows. I have a new roof, had new paint jobs and new carpeting. It's like every year we get something,” noted Nurse. “This is a wonderful place to live.”
There’s nowhere else Nurse said she would rather live.
“When I move out of here, I'm moving straight to the bone yard.”
Higgins noted these residences are one of the city’s best-kept secrets.
“Many people don’t realize the complexes are here,” Higgins said. “They don’t know they are owned and operated by the Elks.”
Nathan Liewicki can be reached at 306-691-1256 or follow him on Twitter @liewicks.