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The federal government is providing land on Wilson Crescent in Saskatoon, valued at $365,000, for two new homes for teenaged girls. ((CBC))

Two new homes, with enough room for 10 beds, will be built in Saskatoon to provide a safe haven for young women who are homeless, government officials announced Thursday.

The homes will be part of an existing network of 11 homes currently operated by the Saskatoon Downtown Youth Centre.

Funding for the additional beds breaks down as follows:

  • $647,280 from the federal and provincial governments for construction costs ($347,280 from the federal government, $300,000 from the provincial government).
  • Land for the new buildings, valued at $365,000, from the federal government.
  • An increase, from the provincial government, in annual operating funds for the Saskatoon Downtown Youth Centre of $700,000, bringing the total annual funding for the agency to $3.4 million.

"This facility will assist female youth between the ages of 12 and 15, primarily of aboriginal ancestry, who are homeless or vulnerable to homelessness," the federal government noted in a news release Thursday.

The director of housing for the youth centre told CBC News on Thursday that there is always a waiting list of youngsters looking for a stable place to live.

"We call it hidden homelessness," Don Meikle said. "Where they're couch surfing, living with friends or living with people that they're not supposed to.

"We have a waiting list … of 40, 50 kids wanting to come into these homes," he added.

The new homes will go up on Wilson Crescent in southeast Saskatoon and should be ready to open in March 2011.