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Sask. mayors call for better use of government housing to deal with homelessness


Emergency shelters across Saskatchewan are full and some people are living in tents as temperatures drop and snowfall increases.

“Our shelter has been full every day and unfortunately at the end of the day there are folks that we have to refer to other agencies,” Major Al Hoeft of the Salvation Army told CTV News.

Saskatchewan’s city mayors say $600 a month in social assistance isn’t enough for single people to survive on in their communities.

Many, like Mayor Gerald Aalbers, believe it’s a contributing factor to homelessness.

“The cities are involved because people end up at our door. Our police departments, our fire departments are getting called to clean up, to assist, to house and that’s not their job,” he said.

Saskatchewan’s mayors think the provincial government’s 3,000 vacant housing units could be part of the solution.

Current rules primarily allow seniors or families as tenants, shutting out many single people who have nowhere to go.

“We end up having to hold vacant properties that we can’t fill,” Mayor Sandra Masters said.

“I believe that’s being worked on right now because the city mayor’s caucus of SUMA has brought that to the attention of the government.”

The Government of Saskatchewan says it’s one of the top provinces in Canada for meeting people’s basic needs.

However, the government did say it is looking for better ways to match public housing with those who need somewhere to live. Top Stories

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