Consciousness march in Regina requires adjustments to earnings help program

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Payton Byrne says homelessness in Regina goes to worsen earlier than it will get higher except one thing adjustments.

Byrne and her sister, each of whom are a part of Warriors of Hope Community Support, organized a homelessness consciousness march in Regina on Monday afternoon. Participants gathered at Carmichael Outreach then walked to the Ministry of Social Services constructing whereas chanting and waving indicators.

“People shouldn’t be houseless. It shouldn’t be a question,” stated Byrne.

She stated a number of issues with the Saskatchewan Income Support program (SIS) are resulting in extra folks being homeless.

A few the principle issues, she stated, are that SIS does not present sufficient cash for purchasers to cowl primary dwelling bills — like meals and utilities — and that cash for lease does not go on to landlords.

“When the rent goes directly to the landlord, you may not get the option to prioritize food, but you will be secured in your housing because [landlords] will know that it’s coming to them. 

Byrne also said that Lori Carr, the province’s minister of social services, continues to underestimate how much of a problem homelessness is in Regina. Byrne had a clear message for Carr about SIS.

“This program is failing,” Byrne said.

“It does not matter the place you are standing politically. These are people, these are lives, these aren’t numbers, these aren’t greenback indicators. These are actual life people who find themselves getting up away from bed to stroll to you and say, ‘Help me.'”

People gathered at Carmichael Outreach before walking to the social services building during a homelessness awareness march on Monday. (Cory Coleman/CBC)

In its latest budget, the provincial government increased SIS basic benefits by $30 per month and shelter benefits by $25 per month.

That means a single adult living in Regina or Saskatoon could receive $600 a month for shelter and utilities, and another $315 a month for food and all other expenses — although the amount each person receives is determined on a case-by-case basis and the person’s circumstances are reviewed each month.

After question period on Monday, Carr said that the province will continue to evaluate the SIS program. She also said that most SIS clients pay their bills themselves, but that some are eligible for direct payment to landlords.

People gathered in front of the social services building in Regina on Monday to raise awareness about homelessness and call for changes to the province’s income support program. (Cory Coleman/CBC)

Morley Redwood also attended Monday’s march.

He’s not on the SIS program, but said he used to be homeless due to addiction and knows first-hand how difficult it can be to get by with limited resources.

Like Byrne, Redwood believes SIS is one of the reasons people are struggling with homelessness.

“It is setting folks as much as fail,” he said.

The amount of money clients receive isn’t enough to make ends meet, according to Redwood, keeping many of them on the streets.

Morley Redwood was one of 50 to 60 people who attended a homelessness awareness march on Monday in Regina. (Cory Coleman/CBC)

Redwood said there also needs to be more addictions support and educational opportunities for people.

“Addictions are a giant downside in Saskatchewan, wherever in Canada, particularly with fentanyl,” he said, noting that he has known nine people who have died from a fentanyl overdose.

Redwood did note that if someone wants to improve their situation, they have to be willing to put in some work.  

“I simply assume that, you recognize, you need one thing dangerous sufficient, you might want to work at getting that for your self, like getting a job, getting educated.”

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Cory Coleman

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