May 16, 2018 6:29 pm
Updated: May 17, 2018 6:23 am

New count surveys homelessness in Saskatchewan

Global News Toronto

New numbers are painting a clearer picture of homelessness in Saskatchewan.

Back in April, volunteers surveyed vulnerable people in the province’s largest cities in hopes of forming a strategy to end homelessness.

It’s part of a ‘point-in-time'(PiT) count looking at where homeless people are spending the night, how long they’ve been homeless and the causes behind their situation. While the methodology was slightly different from city to city, the information will form the first full snapshot of homelessness at a provincial level.

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READ MORE: Volunteers hit Regina streets for 2018 point-in-time homeless count

In Saskatoon, volunteers spoke to 461 people experiencing some form of homelessness on April 18. In Regina, that number dipped to 286, while Prince Albert saw 77.

In all three cities, the majority of participants did have a roof over their heads that night.

One hundred eighty-six people in Saskatoon were using emergency and transitional shelters, while Regina was close behind with 172. More than half the people surveyed in Prince Albert were in a shelter as well.

Regina’s PiT count director, Addison Docherty, said the Queen City’s count took big steps forward by focusing on hidden homelessness.

READ MORE: Action plan aims to tackle Saskatoon’s growing homelessness problem

“It’s a transient lifestyle. people aren’t just sleeping on the streets,” Docherty said. “They’re not just using emergency services, they’re not just sleeping at the hospital. A lot of people do all of those things. They’re trying to figure out where they want to go. We found 18 people who had no idea where they were staying.”

More information on causes, duration of homelessness and demographics will be compiled by mid-summer, when organizers plan to release recommendations to help mold future policy on ending homelessness.

Docherty said the reports will be taken into account as Regina launches a new Plan to End Homelessness in September.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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