A point-in-time homelessness count in Regina conducted in April indicates 286 people were living rough.
Statistics show that 172 people were sleeping in emergency shelters or transitional housing, while 86 others were couch surfing off family and friends.
Shawn Fraser is with the YMCA in Regina. He says the majority of homeless people in the capital are First Nations or Métis.
“Indigenous homelessness is definitely an issue in Regina. Our general population — Aboriginal and Métis people in Regina make up about 10 per cent of the population. In this homeless count, we saw about 76 per cent of the homeless population,” Fraser stated.
“We can draw a direct line between some community challenges for Indigenous communities and the rate of homelessness we see. Indigenous people in Regina are seven times more likely to be homeless than non-Indigenous people. And I think we can find a lot of that back to some of the challenges to individuals all the way back to residential schools and beyond.”
The count revealed that a small percentage of the homeless had either makeshift shelters like tents or did not know where they were staying/had a place to go. Fraser says despite the higher vacancy rates in Regina, the homelessness rate is essentially unchanged from a few years ago.
“The big take away from this count is that despite climbing vacancy rates, homelessness is still an issue in our community. We did a similar count in 2015, and this number is actually strikingly similar. Given the methodology, we more or less have the same homelessness as we did three years ago,” Fraser said.
Fraser says the YMCA is still analyzing data from homelessness counts in Prince Albert and Saskatoon, which is expected to be completed by mid-summer.
(PHOTO: Point-in-Time logo. Photo courtesy of homelesshub.com)