Anti-Poverty protest breaks out at the Legislature before Wednesday’s Throne Speech

Several anti-homelessness advocates were a part of a protest outside of the Legislature Wednesday as the start of session proceeded.

The protests called on the government to open up the 300 social housing units that currently sit vacant, as well as increase Saskatchewan Income Support benefits and reverse previously-made changes to the benefit.

Doreen Lloyd from Carmichael Outreach says they can’t work a miracle in times like these.

“There’s just no affordable housing,” Lloyd said. “Under the Saskatchewan Housing right now, affordable rent is $650-$668. So if people are getting $459 and $575, affordable housing is not even matching what people are getting today.”

Regina Anti-Poverty Ministry spokesperson Peter Gilmer says the rates desperately need to be increased.

“It’s impossible for people to meet all their non-shelter needs on $285 per month,” Gilmer said. “It’s impossible for a single person to meet all of their rent and utilities for $575 per month, only $525 in the rest of the province outside of Saskatoon or Regina.”

Gilmer says it goes beyond funding when it comes to what’s needed for Saskatchewan’s homeless population.

“We need to be making use of the vacant social housing we have in the province right now and in the city, but also be expanding housing where rent is geared to income,” Gilmer said. “(We need to be) making sure that we set aside spaces and building for people who need supportive housing, more permanent supportive housing.”

It’s not known if this protest triggered in threats being made and a security risk being issued at the Legislature, which resulted in the outdoor portion of the Throne Speech proceedings to be cancelled.

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