Mike Hoeft says ensuring people have a warm and safe place to get out of the cold remains a priority for the Salvation Army despite challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic.
“While some shelters may have limited capacity due to the pandemic, we remain committed to helping those who are homeless or at risk of being homeless to feel safe and supported,” said Hoeft, a major with the Salvation Army in Saskatoon.
He made the comment Friday as agencies in Saskatoon, Regina and Prince Albert launched their cold weather strategy.
“We realize that no one organization can accomplish this alone, so we are working with all community partners to ensure those at risk can find safe shelter, a safe space and a hot meal.”
Regina Mobile Crisis Services said COVID-19 has not changed its cold weather strategy.
“Mobile Crisis will continue to partner with government and other community agencies to ensure that everyone who needs a bed or a safe place to stay will have access to one,” said Jan Thorson, the interim executive director of the agency.
“As an agency, we are committed to working diligently to help those in need.”
Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Social Services said it is working with community-based organizations to ensure everyone has access to safe shelter during cold weather.
“Saskatchewan winters can be unpredictable for those who do not have a warm, safe place to call home,” Social Services Minister Paul Merriman said Friday in a statement.
“Social Services pandemic response and the cold weather strategy will run alongside each other to make sure that everyone has safe shelter from the cold this winter.”
Social Services said that could include paying for individuals or families to stay in emergency shelters or hotels in the cities or surrounding communities.
Those seeking shelter in Regina can contact Mobile Crisis Services at 306-757-0127. The agency provides services and referrals 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
People will be connected with the appropriate shelter supports in Regina that will meet their needs. During weekday business hours, people can drop in at the Ministry of Social Services’ Regina Service Centre at 2045 Broad S. for assistance.
In Saskatoon, the Salvation Army can be contacted at 306-244-6280. Emergency services and referrals are provided 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
People will be directed to appropriate shelter supports in Saskatoon that will meet their needs. During weekday business hours, people may visit or contact the Ministry of Social Services’ Saskatoon Service Centre at 160 – 2nd Ave. S. for assistance.
The Prince Albert Mobile Crisis is available after hours at 306-764-1011 and will connect callers with shelter supports.
YWCA after-hours emergency services for men and women at Our House (15th Street Location) are available by contacting 306-922-6162.
People needing shelter in other communities are being asked to contact their nearest Ministry of Social Services office.
They can also contact an emergency shelter, Mobile Crisis Services (if available in their community) or the police.
People in need of financial assistance can apply for Saskatchewan Income Support or Saskatchewan Assured Income for Disability benefits.