Metropolis, Saskatoon Tribal Council addressing ‘homelessness disaster’ with outreach, temp shelter – Saskatoon

As temperatures begin to dip, the city and Saskatoon Tribal Council (STC) are focusing on getting every person they can out of the cold.

They said people experiencing homelessness are erecting more encampments and tent cities as the weather gets colder in Saskatoon.

The Saskatoon Fire Department is looking to get vulnerable people shelter, which could include a hotel room.

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“We will be identifying places or camps where people are living in makeshift shelters,” said assistant fire chief Yvonne Raymer.

“We will be designating and delegating a task force to these areas in order to provide support,” she said.

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“(We’ll) talk to the people who are without housing and try to build trust, a relationship, and see what we can do to support them.”


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Rallies call for changes to income assistance, say program putting more at risk of homelessness


Rallies call for changes to income assistance, say program putting more at risk of homelessness

Those supports include food, COVID-19 testing, mental health and addictions help and ultimately, a place to stay long-term.

“In good conscience, with everything that we are facing we can’t allow for people to be living in the elements as the weather begins to turn colder,” Raymer said.

‘Homelessness crisis’: STC

Meanwhile, the STC said they aim to have a temporary shelter set up by next month.

Tribal Chief Mark Arcand said the STC is looking for a warehouse or gymnasium to house as many as possible.

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“I would say a good starting point is 50 people,” he said.

“But I’ve been told, ‘You better prepare for 100’ and I’m saying, well, that’s the greater need here, then we all have to work together.”

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The tribal council said they’re still finalizing details, including a location. The shelter would run from December to the end of March, according to Arcand.

He said the shelter would be open 24/7 with three to four staff, and offer food and other supports to help those staying there find the supports they need.


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Camp Marjorie organizers want social services to ensure people are not stuck in ‘revolving door’ of homelessness – Oct 17, 2021

He said the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated mental health and addictions issues for many, and it has lead to a “homelessness crisis” in the city.

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Rallies were held by advocates in Regina and Saskatoon last week, calling for the province to step in and fix changes to the newly adopted Saskatchewan Income Support (SIS) program.

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Rallies call for changes to income assistance, say program putting more at risk of homelessness

The social assistance program changed how the system previously made payments, something advocates said has lead to more evictions and people ending up on the street this winter.

“We see people sleeping on sidewalks, under any type of crevice that they can keep warm, out of the wind,” Arcand said.

“It’s -8C, -10C at night right now with the wind-chill, it’s actually cold out.”


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Advocates discuss effects of housing insecurity being seen throughout Saskatchewan


Advocates discuss effects of housing insecurity being seen throughout Saskatchewan – Oct 18, 2021

The fire department said it worries about vulnerable people setting fires to try and keep warm. There have already been safety issues with fires, said Chief Morgan Hackl.

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“One was one on a private property near a garage and it extended onto the garage and destroyed the garage,” he said.

“That’s a fire safety issue but it’s also a life safety issue. Especially when there is a number of tents or temporary shelters together, if something like a fire does occur it spreads quickly.”

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A bylaw change is being discussed at the next city council meeting, according to Arcand, that would allow the temporary shelter to open and operate.


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