A study of homelessness in Saskatoon

Watch above: For the third time in eight years, Saskatoon will try to gauge homelessness. Aaron Streck finds out what features have been added to this year’s survey to give a clearer indication how bad the situation is.

SASKATOON – One by one they’re being tallied. The Community-University Institute for Social Research (CUISR) is conducting a one day point-in-time homelessness count to gain a clearer understanding of homelessness trends in Saskatoon.

“We’re trying to capture the so called hidden homelessness; those that aren’t on the street, not in shelters but they don’t have a home of their own,” said CUISR co-director Isobel Findlay.

This is the third time in Saskatoon the homeless population has been counted. The numbers will be compared to those from 2008 and 2012.

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“There are clearly some trends around housing affordability, around insecure employment,” said Findlay.  “We’re going through a wide swath of the downtown area, we’re going as far north as 36th, we’re going as far east as 8th Street and Preston, we’re doing the river valley.”

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In 2012, the count found Saskatoon’s homeless population had grown by more than 100 to 372 compared to 2008 and had gotten younger.

“You hear of some of the challenges or life situations people come from and its difficult to hear because its difficult to know … and there’s a question in there as to what changes can we make its hard to know how we can make some change and that’s kind of their question as well,” said Cara Spence Gress, a University of Saskatchewan PhD student.

The initiative is in conjunction with the Saskatoon Housing Initiatives Partnership and Community Advisory Board.

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Federal funding of over $25,000 has been approved for the project.The federal government is interested in chronic and episodic cases.

“Always underestimate because you can’t be everywhere and not everyone will share their experience,” said Findlay.

The numbers will be tallied and the results released to the public in the coming months.

Regina conducted it’s first homeless count this spring.

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