11/12/2014 05:37 EST | Updated 01/12/2015 05:59 EST

Saskatchewan puts up money to keep housing for drug-addicted women

REGINA - The Saskatchewan government is spending $200,000 to keep the doors open at a residence for drug-addicted women in trouble with the law.

Kate's Place in Regina is an alternative to jail for women who are in treatment while serving community sentences for drug convictions.

Funding for the two-year federal pilot project was not renewed last spring.

The province offered transitional financing to keep the residence open through the summer and fall, but it faced closure this month.

Kate's Place was started by the Salvation Army in 2012.

Justice Minister Gordon Wyant says keeping the facility open is beneficial for everyone in the community.

For example, four women who were pregnant when they moved into Kate's Place gave birth to healthy, drug-free babies.

"Providing these supports can only benefit society as we go forward," Wyant said Wednesday. "The more (who) benefit from these kinds of programs, the better it is for the province."

Isabelle Morris, a graduate of the program and now a mentor for Kate's Place, says her experience there has helped her remain sober for 19 months.

"It gave me my life back. It gave me a future of hope that I can do better with my life," she said.

"In jail, you just exist. You have to strive to stay alive. Here we're able to live full ... healthy lives with our families, where before we were hiding in dark corners in a dark, lonely place."

(CKRM, The Canadian Press)