Large portions of Saskatchewan are under a heat warning Tuesday, with Saskatoon expecting to reach a high of 32 C, potentially hitting 35 C Wednesday.
While some residents are able to start up a fan, take a cold shower or turn on air conditioning, the community’s most vulnerable don’t have as many options.
“Even though it’s hot, you’ve got to be careful. Look at what’s kept you alive, and keep doing the same thing,” said Mushoom, a Saskatoon resident who’s been homeless for five to six years.
“Stay in the shadows and hydrate.”
According to the 2022 Point in Time Count on homelessness in Saskatoon, 550 people are unhoused.
This is an all-time high for the city, as 48.8 per cent of those people have been homeless for over six months in the last year.
That’s a progressively growing number in Saskatoon, as 2008 showed 260 people sleeping rough or in shelters.
“It is extremely concerning that there are 550 people in Saskatoon that are experiencing homelessness, however, this is only a single-day count,” said Brenna Sych, the communications co-ordinator for Saskatoon Housing Initiatives Partnership.
“There are more people than this experiencing homelessness in Saskatoon. Continued and concentrated efforts is necessary to support the growing population.”
The majority of these people identify as Indigenous, making up 82.6 per cent of the homeless population.
Cool-down stations have been set up around the city as part of Saskatoon’s heat response.
Last year, 34 temperature records, including Saskatoon’s, were broken in early July, with some thermometers reaching as high as 40 C.
Environment Canada said things should cool down a bit by Thursday and Friday, but the area should expect extreme temperatures again over the weekend.