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'Houselessness emergency' declaration at the top of the docket at Regina city council


Whether or not to declare a "houselessness emergency" in Regina is set to be discussed at Wednesday’s city council meeting.

The motion was submitted by councillors Shanon Zachidniak, Cheryl Stadnichuk, Andrew Stevens and Dan LeBlanc.

In the motion – the councillors ask city administration to create a plan for temporary, barrier free shelter for all Regina residents in need by the end of Q3 of 2023.

Additionally, the group says the city must make long-term commitments to addressing homelessness as part of the 2024 budget process while also collaborating with the provincial and federal governments.

The motion echoes a similar move by Leblanc and Stevens which saw legal action taken after funding to end homelessness was not included in the city’s 2023-2024 budget.

The motion was submitted to be talked about at city council’s meeting on Aug. 16. However, the discussion was delayed.

City manager Niki Anderson was quoted as saying the move would not help solve the problem.

“I think a mistake often occurs when there’s people interested in declaring a state of emergency is that somehow money will magically fall from the sky just by declaring a state of emergency,” Anderson told reporters on Aug. 17.

“In general, any kind of federal funding tied to that – the province has to actually take that state of emergency past the seven days and then it’s a special fund that is generally tied to natural disasters. So declaring a state of emergency doesn’t magically give us a new pot of money,” she added.

Mayor Sandra Masters also defended the city’s current efforts – saying collaboration with other levels of government is already happening.

“There are elements of [the motion] that are budgetary in nature. We continue to work with the province and with the federal government on the issue. Clearly it’s ongoing,” she said on Aug. 17.

However, LeBlanc believes declaring a state of emergency would be a political move rather than a legal move that could help the issue.

“The utility of an emergency declaration is to say we’re not doing a good job whether of our own fault or just jurisdictional issues, we’re not adequately addressing this and we need other levels to step in,” he said.

“One of the problems from my perspective is I think the city hasn’t even used the powers we already have to address homelessness in a serious way.”

A total of nine delegates are scheduled to be heard by city council on the topic of the proposed emergency.

Other matters on the docket include the Saskatchewan Drive Corridor Plan as well as the 2022 update to the city’s lead service connection management program.

With files from Allison Bamford. Top Stories

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