Regina mayor Michael Fougere says the city's need for affordable housing is the most pressing issue he faces.

Fougere is hosting a housing summit and, on Monday, he took part in a ground-breaking ceremony that highlighted one element of the housing needs in his city.

A project in Regina's core neighbourhood, set for completion in December, will see eight bachelor-style apartment units built. The apartments are meant to provide housing for young people who can't find anywhere else to stay.

"Right now many of them are couch-surfing, living in over-crowded housing, or homeless [and] staying in shelters," Malcolm Neill, from the Ranch Ehrlo Society, said.

Rent for a new suite will be no more than $450 per month.

Calvin White, who was working on the project Monday, said that rental rate is important considering what he has experienced in Regina.

"Outrageous," White said about some of the rents he has seen. "There are some places [at] 18-hundred bucks, for rent. I don't how people can afford that. $450 here. That's pretty affordable."

"This [project] demonstrates a partnership between federal, provincial and the city so it's a template for what can happen in the future," Fougere said Monday.

Fougere said Friday his goal is to improve the city's vacancy rate, currently at one per cent, to three per cent by 2017. Regina expects more than 200 people will participate in meetings at the housing summit.

With files from CBC's Dean Gutheil