The courtyard outside of Regina's City Hall is now home to dozens of folks who struggle to secure housing or temporary shelter. Residents are justifiably concerned for many reasons. Yes, there's a role for the municipality to play in resolving this growing crisis. That goes without saying. But we can't do it without support from all three levels of government. Right now, volunteers and community organizations are shouldering most of the weight. Here are some important resources and contacts that residents can access if they want to influence change.
Plan to End Homelessness: The City took a leadership role in crafting a costed action plan aimed at eliminating homelessness for the hardest to house. Council unanimously approved this plan, and sent it along to the provincial government for consideration. Little was done to fully fund and implement this Housing First model. At some point in the summer of 2023, the Plan's dedicated website and all associated reports and testimonials were taken down. You can find the resources here:
Plan to End Homelessness (executive summary)
Here's the latest Point in Time Count (2021). It includes detailed information collected by volunteers about the hundreds of people in Regina who are experiencing homelessness at any given time. Ditch your anecdotes. Look at the facts.
Political advocacy: Many of the tools needed to effectively deal with homelessness in Regina are held by the provincial government. That means the Ministries of Social Services and Health play a leading role in tackling this crisis. If you reach out to the respective Ministers, here are some questions you should pose (don't just ask how much is being spent):
The province has received the City of Regina's Plan to End Homelessness. Representatives from the provincial government were at the table helping to shape the Plan back in 2018. What happened? Has the province funded in whole or in part the Plan to End Homelessness?
How many supportive housing units are available in Regina for residents who are in need of addictions and mental health supports? How many units are needed?
Are basic provincial income supports adequate to pay rent, utilities, and groceries in Regina? By what measure?
What has been the effect of changes to how SIS and other income supports are distributed to residents in financial distress?
What support is the province providing the City of Regina as it deals with a growing homelessness crisis?
We're often told that conversations are taking place between municipalities and the province when it comes to homelessness. What is the content of those conversations? Results?
What metrics are being used to demonstrate the success of income, addictions, and mental health supports?
Relevant Provincial Ministers
Other policies and supporting materials
If you have concerns about crime and safety, please call the police (9-1-1 for emergencies, 306-777-6500 for non-emergencies). Regina's Fire and Protective Services is conducting wellness checks along with provincial outreach workers. You can contact the City directly on-line.
Other resources include...