Temporary homeless shelter gets boost from Saskatoon committee
The city’s Planning, Development and Community Services committee approved a request from the Saskatoon Tribal Council to lease a city-owned space for a temporary homeless shelter on Tuesday morning.
The proposed location put forth by the STC would be located at 145 First Avenue North and would have capacity for 50 beds.
The shelter would include COVID-19 testing, regular wellness checks during the day, food and laundry services, sleeping accommodations and Indigenous elders on site.
Saskatoon Fire Department (SFD) Chief Morgan Hackl said the city doesn’t have a comprehensive homelessness strategy in place and that it will take a lot of dedicated resources and time.
He said the department has had a 20 per cent increase in incidents calls in 20201 and connects them to the pandemic, citing addictions and mental health issues.
“We really do need to deal with what’s in front of us right now,” Hackl said during the meeting in regards to the urgent need for a shelter.
Sanctum Care Group also attended and relied on the message of the importance of trauma informed care as many Indigenous homeless people still feel the impacts of residential schools.
“Today we are in a state of crisis as more and more people enter homelessness,” executive director Katelyn Roberts said in the meeting.
City council will need to give the final approval for the shelter. Mayor Charlie Clark called for a special meeting later this week, citing urgency due to the cold weather.
– With files from Laura Woodward