After two deaths, Sask. Government unveils cold weather strategy

The cold weather might not have been around long, but it has already caused drastic effects on those without a home in the province.

A Montreal Lake Cree Nation member in Prince Albert and a Saskatoon man died from the exposure over the weekend.

Following the deaths, the Saskatchewan Government unveiled its cold weather strategy.

Critic for Social Services and Housing Meara Conway says it is too little, too late.

“We’re only a few days into winter, but people are already freezing to death in our province,” she said. “This is not growth that works for everyone. In a rich province like Saskatchewan, no one should die alone, in the cold, with nowhere to go.”

Conway said in their conversations over the summer that they were warned about what it would take for the Government to act.

“Someone was going to have to freeze to death before this government took action on housing and shelter,” she said. “I was desperately hoping that they were wrong, but sadly that was wrong.”
“Why do people have to lose their lives for the Sask Party Government to act,” she asked.

Minister of Social Services Gene Makowsky responded to the criticism by pointing to the province’s cold weather plan and investments into homelessness.

“Municipalities are working in concert with CBOs as well as community organizations to ensure folks are looked after.”

Earlier this week, the province announced that it would be providing up to $1.7 million in additional funding to increase the number of emergency shelter spaces in the province.

The Ministry of Social Services said it would provide an additional $800,000 to community partners to support seasonal cost pressures and $900,000 to increase emergency shelter capacity by up to 60 spaces this winter in Prince Albert, Saskatoon and Regina.

The Government also announced its cold weather strategy to help people in need of warm and safe shelter this winter to receive support from government and community partners.

“We all know how difficult Saskatchewan winters can be, especially for the most vulnerable in our province,” Makowsky said. “That is why once again this year, our government is joining with local community partners across the province to make sure everyone has a warm and safe place to stay, no matter where they live or when they need it.”

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