Hidden homelessness a growing problem in Saskatchewan

In Saskatchewan, many people experience homelessness in a hidden way.

One U of R professor says many people living in overcrowded houses

While some may think homelessness can be measured by the number of people living on the street, Saskatchewan has many people living in "hidden homelessness". (Shutterstock)

One professor says the homeless situation in Saskatchewan is grim, as a new report looks at how much it would cost to end homelessness across the country.

The report, a joint effort of the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness and the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness, says 235,000 Canadians experience homelessness every year.

In Saskatchewan, many people experience homelessness in a hidden way, according to Marc Spooner, professor of educational psychology at the University of Regina.

"What we tend to have is a lot of overcrowding in houses — people staying in unsafe, unsanitary, just overcrowded conditions," Spooner explained.

While it's difficult to get a number when it comes to homelessness, Spooner said one indicator is food bank usage.

Spooner said in April, three-quarters of the food banks in Saskatchewan reported seeing an increase in clients.

"When you see the food bank usage increase, you know that that pressures the rental side."

The national report determined that it would take $1 more per Canadian per week to end homelessness.

Spooner said when it comes to Saskatchewan, safe, affordable housing is what's needed most.

With files from CBC Radio's the Afternoon Edition.