Healing and Housing our Community Members
According to the 2022 Homelessness count, a record number of people are experiencing homelessness in Saskatoon. Advocates say that the 550 people identified in the count is likely a fraction of the actual number of homeless people.
Saskatoon Community Foundation’s 2021 Vital Signs report notes some key statistics in terms of homelessness: 85% of homeless people are Indigenous, and 65% of homeless people have been involved in the foster care system. Many people first experience homelessness as a consequence of aging out of the foster care system. 86% of homeless people have substance use issues.
Many people who are homeless don’t have ID yet having ID would help them to find a place to live. Basic needs like ID are key in supporting individuals who are chronically homeless. They need several supports to gain stability and be able to maintain housing. Individuals may not have the capacity to address these challenges without support, and without housing, may not be able to receive other supports on an ongoing basis. The cycle can be very difficult to break.
Landlords may see risks to their business and properties. Community workers may have challenges in being able to consistently contact individuals on their caseload to offer assistance. Government policies intended to promote independence are not effective when for people need consistent supports. Many factors influence our community’s ability to address homelessness.
The connections between homelessness, poverty, substance use, and racism cannot be ignored. The lingering impacts of colonialism and the residential school system on Indigenous people have been devastating. We all have a role to play in addressing the damage that has been done to heal and house these vulnerable and valuable community members.