Some of the vacant housing units in Regina appear to require serious renovations, with many targeted by theft.
“One of the things to note is that many of those units are currently under major renovation,” said Saskatchewan Housing Corporation president Louise Michaud, who said Regina currently has around 700 vacant units.
The Saskatchewan Housing Corporation gave Global News an inside look at some of the units on Monday, some of which were rent-ready, while others required major work.
One of the units features large holes in the walls and ceilings, excessive filth and insulation spilling out onto the floor.
Many of the vacant units have also been subjected to vandalism and theft.
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“The best way to protect units from being vandalized is to have them occupied, to have someone living there,” said Michaud.
Copper piping and a furnace had been stolen from one of the units.
Regina Housing is also considering adding motion detectors to the vacant properties.
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Michaud said one of the biggest issues that Regina housing is facing right now is adapting to the evolving needs of clients.
“We are seeing people with more and different supporting housing needs,” said Michaud, who is also the assistant deputy minister for disability programs and housing.
“People have different needs related to mental health or addiction, and when we get into those situations with people, they need more than a unit to be successfully housed.”
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She said they are currently co-ordinating with people to create houses with the needs of the client in mind.
“In Regina, there are 88 accessible units for persons under age 55 where the building has been purpose-built for individuals,” the Ministry of Social Services said in a statement.
Nine of these units are currently vacant.
Only six units are available for seniors that require additional space and accessibility features.
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