Sanctum partners with Sask. government to provide housing for at risk mothers and children in Saskatoon
Saskatoon Housing Authority has provided Sanctum with a 27-unit apartment building
New mothers and pregnant women involved in some of Sanctum Care Group Inc.'s programs will now have access to supportive housing in Saskatoon.
Sanctum is a community-based organization that works with people affected by HIV, addictions, mental health issues, poverty and homelessness. Among its programs are the Prenatal Outreach and Resource Team (PORT) and Sanctum 1.5, whose participants will have access to the new housing.
The Saskatoon Housing Authority has provided Sanctum with a 27-unit apartment building to support women in the two programs. This is through a partnership with Saskatchewan Housing Corporation (SHC) and the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA).
The units will be rented to Sanctum's clients. Then, Sanctum staff will provide supports and services on-site for mothers and children, according to a Monday news release.
According to Sanctum Executive Director Katelyn Roberts, the PORT program supports women in complex life situations by providing early interventions that reduce health complications in mothers and babies.
"The goal of that program is to work with all high-risk prenatals in our community who are at risk of having their children apprehended at birth by providing wraparound supports to those women during pregnancy so that we can mitigate the children being apprehended at birth," Roberts told the CBC on Monday.
Meanwhile, the Sanctum 1.5 program addresses the health and well-being of high-risk pregnant women and their children.
The new housing initiative will provide quick and safe housing to pregnant woman who are homeless and second stage housing to woman who are graduating the Sanctum 1.5 program with their children.
"In the last 10 years, we've seen a rapid increase in pregnant women who are homeless. But also we've been seeing an increase in barriers to care … with the increasing rates of crystal meth use, opioid use, as well as syphilis and HIV in our community," Roberts said.
"I think now more than ever we need safe, supportive housing for women, especially who are pregnant."
Since 2018, the Sanctum 1.5 program has supported 78 women and helped 110 children remain safely in the care of their mothers. It has also reunited 44 children in out-of-home care with their mothers.
"Thanks to the services Sanctum provides, we can continue to help vulnerable women and children stay healthy and safe," said Health Minister Paul Merriman in a statement.
"These homes will give mothers and their children the stability and supports they need and deserve – as well as hope for a better future."
The Government of Saskatchewan provided Sanctum with $740,000 to establish PORT.