Released on November 1, 2023
The Government of Saskatchewan is working closely with partners in Saskatoon and Regina to implement cold weather strategies to ensure people experiencing homelessness have access to warm, safe shelter and supports during cold weather. Services are also available in communities across Saskatchewan that do not have official cold weather strategies.
"Cold weather strategies effectively coordinate community services and resources so everyone in need of shelter has a safe, warm place to stay and access to services," Social Services Minister Gene Makowsky said. "The Ministry of Social Services will continue to work with partners across the province to ensure services and supports, including shelter spaces, are available throughout the province this winter."
Community partners drive cold weather strategies to tailor the approach to best meet the needs in the community. The Ministry of Social Services connects with emergency shelters to confirm the availability of spaces, food and other supports.
"Our community-based organizations have worked together for several years to help reduce the impact extreme cold weather can have on homeless and vulnerable folks in Saskatoon," Saskatoon Fire Department Director of Emergency Planning Pamela Goulden-McLeod said. "Saskatoon's Extreme Cold Weather Strategy is activated when temperatures dip below -30 degrees. This way the regular winter support operations of community partners can be boosted by extending hours of operation or by enhancing outreach services."
"It's important that people who need a safe and warm place to stay have access to those supports," Emergency Preparedness and Business Continuity Manager Kim Olsen said. "The City of Regina recognizes the value of our partnerships with community-based organizations to help keep all residents safe during the coldest months of the year."
How to Access Help
Anyone who needs a safe place to stay can contact their local Income Assistance Service Centre for help Monday to Friday from 8 am to 5 pm. For after hours and weekend support:
- In Regina, contact Mobile Crisis Services;
- In Saskatoon, contact the Salvation Army;
- In Prince Albert, contact Mobile Crisis Services; and
- In all other communities, contact your local RCMP detachment.
If you see someone who is in crisis, or may be at risk of exposure, please call 911.
Cold weather strategies are implemented each winter. As announced in early October, work is also underway with community partners to create 120 new permanent emergency shelter spaces in communities across the province based on their need. A $14.1 million investment means there will be approximately 500 emergency shelter spaces available this winter across the province.
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