Saskatchewan

City council takes initial step in process that will seek to end homelessness in Regina

Regina council has passed a motion to support funding for a plan to be included in the proposed 2023 budget that will seek to end homelessness in the city.

City staff to examine 'financial cost of continued inaction' on issue

The 'housing first' philosophy will help provide support for those facing mental health or addictions issues. (Matt Garand/CBC)

In a unanimous vote, Regina council has passed a motion to support funding for a plan to be included in the proposed 2023 budget that will seek to end homelessness in the city. 

The city will adopt a "housing first" philosophy that will be a permanent line item in next year's budget.  This would provide supportive housing as a first step for those experiencing mental health or addiction issues. 

Regina Mayor Sandra Masters hopes all levels of government will get involved in helping to fund initiatives to end homelessness. (Moreen Mugerwa/CBC)

Mayor Sandra Masters hopes other levels of government will get involved.

"When the city comes to the table — whether that's facilitation, co-ordination, some investments, bringing partners together — the province comes to the table, the federal government comes to the table," Masters said.

Council would like a report on how many people are chronically homeless in Regina, as well as the cost per person to provide supportive housing. 

Coun. Daniel LeBlanc says it is time for the city to prioritize an end to homelessness. 

Among the priorities, LeBlanc notes reconciliation is part of the process as Indigenous people comprise a big portion of Regina's homeless population. 

"I suggest that we cannot credibly speak about reconciliation while Indigenous homelessness runs rampant," LeBlanc said.

City staff will now prepare a report that will look at the costs of implementing a program to end homlessness in Regina, as well as "the financial cost of inaction" on the issue. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Moreen Mugerwa is a journalist with CBC Saskatchewan. She holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Regina. She works as a portrait and lifestyle photographer in her spare time.

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