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Homelessness is increasing in Saskatoon, say housing advocates, experts

Homlessness is on the rise in Saskatoon and it has housing advocates concerned. Global News

David Fineday is among many in the city to experience homelessness at least once in his lifetime.

“About five years ago I was homeless,” said Fineday

He was among a large crowd of people to attend a community appreciation day at Station 20 West in Saskatoon. He said there are more people affected by homelessness than experts think.

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“There’s a lot of denial and lots of people will say no we have a home, we have a home,” said Fineday, “They may have a home but they are houseless and that’s what I’m trying to make people understand.”

Fineday said people are often couch=surfing at a family member’s house and those who don’t are on the streets. He said he hopes the event will help people better understand the reality of homelessness in Saskatoon.

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“They don’t understand how to take care of us,” said Fineday. “What kind of help we need personally, mentally, everything, addictions, all that kind of stuff and hopefully this will help open up that door.”

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Fineday has a place to call home right now but experts say homelessness is on the rise in the city.

Over the last five years, homelessness climbed from 475 to 550 people. However, Fineday believes the number is probably closer to 1,500 or more because people are too embarrassed to admit they have nowhere to live.

“We found more people this year than any other pick count that we’ve done in Saskatoon,” said Brenna Sych, Communications Coordinator for the Saskatoon Housing Initiative Partnership.

Sych said homelessness is getting worse and something needs to be done about it. She said the changes to available programs have resulted in more people on the streets. She said inter-generational trauma and addictions are also factors.

“A continuum of care is necessary to be able to help people from beginning to finish to finding homes and continued care,” said Sych

Sych said homelessness doesn’t have a look and many are one family emergency away from being homeless.

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