Possible increase in violence against homeless in Saskatoon
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SASKATOON – There may be an increase in violence against homeless people in Saskatoon.
Director of Communications for the Lighthouse Supported Living Inc. DeeAnn Mercier says their mobile outreach workers have seen some troubling things.
“There have been a couple of incidents that have really concerned the people that are working on the mobile outreach,” said Mercier.
“There was a gentleman who was urinated on and someone stole his pants.”
Another client reported being hit with a pipe.
“We just wanted to bring it to the community, so that they were more aware to keep an eye on everybody, to keep them safe,” said Mercier.
The Lighthouse is a supported living facility that helps people dealing with addictions, homelessness and other problems.
Its mobile outreach service started this winter, using a refurbished ambulance to reach people on the street.
Mercier said it is hard to put a dimension on the problem because those they deal with may not even bother reporting an assault to the police.
“A lot of these folks may have had issues with the justice system in the past, or they are worried about retribution from other people on the street,” said Mercier.
“Maybe they don’t feel like they’re worth even speaking up and saying anything and that’s so awful.”
She also said it is hard to say if there is an increase in homeless numbers in Saskatoon. The last official count was several years ago.
The Lighthouse provides affordable housing, supported living and emergency shelter to those in need. It also has case workers who help people with mental health problems.