Meara’s POVERTY AND HOUSING REPORT

Saskatchewan communities are experiencing a growing crisis in homelessness and poverty driven partly by the Sask Party government’s cuts to housing supports and changes to the social assistance regime. Back in 2021-22, Meara engaged in emergency consultations across the province following the implementation of the new Saskatchewan Income Support program or “SIS” in late 2021. The consultations were held across the province from Regina, Saskatoon and Moose Jaw, to Prince Albert and North Battleford, as well as in Northern, rural, and remote communities.

Meara released a comprehensive Report based on feedback received from service providers, community-based organizations, income assistance recipients, Social Services staff, and landlords across the province regarding Saskatchewan’s social safety net.

Meara identified five major themes and provides an analysis of why Saskatchewan’s housing and poverty crises continue to worsen, and proposes both immediate and long-term solutions for improving how the province’s most vulnerable are supported.The Report is an action plan to end homelessness, leverage every opportunity to end poverty, reverse deep cuts to housing that actually cost us more in the long run, and to stop moving backwards. What is striking about this report is that the issues identified back in 2021-22 when SIS was rolled out, are as true now as they were then. Meara’s predictions about how SIS and the government’s approach to housing will only worsen the issues have come true: homelessness has skyrocketed, poverty is up, and addiction and mental health services are not meeting the need. The long and short term solutions identified by Meara in that report continue to be an important guide to tackle the growing crisis in our communities.