Saskatoon home uses new formula to fund 'Sweet Dreams'

A new home for women in crisis uses government and private investor cash to keep families together.

The home for women in crisis combines government and private investor cash.

Mayor Don Atchison cuts the ribbon to official open the 'Sweet Dreams' project in Saskatoon. (Guillame Dumont/CBC)

It's meant to be a safe landing for families with no place to go.

The Sweet Dreams project is a home for women and their children who are at risk of being separated. The goal is to give them parenting and life skills classes and keep them out of the foster care system. 

Don Meikle, executive director of EGADZ, says the house is an extension of their programs that give young women a helping hand.

"Their children will not see what they've endured," Meikle explained. "They're going to be able to provide the things their babies deserve. We all want to provide the best for our kids, these moms are no different."

While there's nothing new with the programming, it's the money behind Sweet Dreams that makes it groundbreaking. It's called a Social Impact Bond, an agreement between the province and private investors that is based on results.

"This is a chance for the government to reach out to the private investors," Social Services Minister June Draude said. "We say, 'If in a certain amount of time, if you can achieve a certain outcome, we'll repay your money with interest.'"

In this particular agreement, $1 million is coming from Conexus Credit Union and Wally and Colleen Mah. 

Chantal McLaren has gone through a similar program. With the help of EGADZ, she went from a life of couch surfing to having a home with her one-year-old son.

"It gave me a safe roof over my head, a support system that would take me to school and pick me up," McLaren said. "I was able to make it (to school) everyday. I always had food, money for clothes, so I wouldn't have to worry about those kinds of things."

The Sweet Dreams home will open in June. It will house up to 11 women and 15 children.