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Safe Community Action Alliance working toward a safer Saskatoon

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Safe Community Action Alliance working toward a safer Saskatoon
WATCH ABOVE: The Safe Community Action Alliance is working to make Saskatoon a safer place for everyone. Brenden Purdy reports – Sep 28, 2018

Since its inception in 2017, the Safe Community Action Alliance has been working toward pinpointing major issues affecting the people of Saskatoon.

The top two priorities the group has focused on are the crystal meth epidemic and homelessness.

READ MORE: Housing and homelessness conference in Saskatoon focusing on Indigenous issues

“It’s driven by poverty, people are doing things to survive,” Saskatoon Tribal Council Chief Mark Arcand said.

Crystal meth is now a cheap, cheap drug that is destroying every person and every family member that’s here. It doesn’t matter what race, what colour you are, it’s destroying people’s lives.”

“The police service has a role to play in crystal meth in the city and my role is primarily enforcement. So, enforcement by itself isn’t very effective if you don’t have a lot of supports to follow that through,” Saskatoon police Chief Troy Cooper said.

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“So, the justice system, the social support around housing, employment, and addiction recovery, some of those programs have to be there or enforcement simply isn’t effective.”

READ MORE: Meth a ‘driving factor’ in Saskatoon police pursuit increase: report

However, some of the changes that have occurred since the group’s inception have come in the form of applying strategies and training to reach those who are most at risk.

“The homelessness initiative, the plan to end homelessness has housed hundreds of people in a stable housing environment.  Many who are some of the most difficult people to house in our community, as a result, avoiding so many people having to go, again to emergency rooms to end up in police cells,” Saskatoon Mayor Charlie Clark said.

“It saves the system money, it takes a more systemic approach to the issue and it leads to better outcomes for people in our communities.”

There are 29 Saskatoon-based groups that make up the Safe Action Alliance, which relies heavily on strong communication through not only the collective, but the community as well.

“It’s coming from the voices of the community, and from the people who are most effected, who are saying, this is what we need to tackle,” Clark said.

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“I’m trying to help with all of these partners to gather these resources to say, let’s work together in a coordinated way to respond to what we’re hearing from the community.”

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