The Soaring Hearts Project for transitional housing from the Blackfoot Family Lodge Society is now officially open after a ribbon cutting Friday.
The transitional homes, situated where the old Netherlands Church was in the north part of Lethbridge, are two seven-unit townhouses that will house women and children looking for a new start.
Mary Ann Crow Healy, executive director of the Blackfoot Family Lodge Society, says it’s a surreal feeling to see the project go from start to finish. She hopes those who reside in the homes will have that community to raise children.
“The Blackfoot Family Lodge is a transition society, and our hope is to provide a place where women can grow, a place where they can feel safe amongst each other. There’s peer support, we hope to foster a community—a village that will raise children,” says Crow Healy.
So far, as of Friday morning, around 40 applications have been received for the homes, with 14 being chosen for the move-in day in October. The homes will all have three bedrooms, as well as a green space between the complexes.
“This is an opportunity long overdue,” says Blackfoot Family Lodge Society president, Lance Tailfeathers. “thanks to the partnership and collaboration of all who were involved in this project in seeing it through. Now families who want to come into the city have extra support in resources and a place to start.”
Funding for the project is provided through the Alberta Indigenous Housing Capital Program for over $3 million, with the City of Lethbridge providing funding to help with the deconstruction of the church.
Mayor Blaine Hyggen was in attendance and says this is an unbelievable opportunity.
“We know that we’re short of housing, but we’re short of housing in all demographics of our community and it’s extremely important to have this here.”
Also in attendance were members of the Blackfoot Family Lodge Society, as well as members of the Indigenous community and Minister Nathan Neudorf.