A march from Carmichael Outreach to the office of the Department of Social Services was meant to send a message loud and clear: Saskatchewan’s income support program isn’t doing enough.
“The problems (with the SIS program) are so deep. The most important is the amount that (the people above) actually receive. Their living expenses, I believe they get $575 for rent and bills,” said Payton Byrne, who helped organize Monday’s march in Regina.
“They have taken direct payment out to landlords, which means instead of the salary going directly to landlords to make sure their rent is paid, they get a quarter of what the rent should be and are supposed to pay for it. everything and return it to their owners. as well as.”
More than 50 people came out to support the march. One of those people was Morley Redwood, who brought his 18-month-old son.
Redwood knows firsthand what kind of help homeless people get. He was homeless and turned to Camp Hope for help as he also battled addiction issues.
“I’ve been sober since December 3,” Redwood said. “I wrote down every day I was at Camp Hope in a book. I realized it had a lot to do with addictions, but everyone should be judged differently. Everyone is different.
“I believe the SIS program has made people fail. Look how many pennies (government officials) have invested in the (CFL’s Saskatchewan) Roughriders. They give them millions but only give pennies to the penniless. Our society despises the homeless, but they are real people.
In a written statement, the Department of Social Services said it continues to work with partners and all levels of government to help address homelessness.
“Budget 2022-23 represents a record investment to support Saskatchewan individuals and families in need. This includes an investment of $11.4 million to increase basic Saskatchewan Income Support benefits and housing benefits,” the statement said.
“The budget also includes expanded guardianship and financial management services through partner community organizations to help more clients with complex needs. The Saskatchewan Housing Benefit helps low-income people better pay their housing costs, providing up to $11.5 million through the National Housing Strategy.
But Byrne said the record investment is just an extra dollar a day for people in the SIS program.
“A dollar a day doesn’t help me pay my rent. A dollar a day doesn’t even help me eat a bagel. A dollar a day is a slap in the face when you ask to be able to have a roof over your head. It doesn’t matter except they can say, “Well, we did it,” Byrne said.
In its statement, the ministry said the best way to receive help was to visit one of its service centers in person. That’s why Byrne and others brought the issue to the ministry’s office.
“People should not be homeless; that shouldn’t be a question. We are trying to prove to Lori Carr, the Minister of Social Services, that people are homeless and that this SIS program is a failed program that needs to be scrapped,” Byrne said.
“We hope she realizes that there are homeless people and that the SIS program is failing. She keeps repeating the same three sentences in the Legislative Assembly and she admitted it. She said, “I will continue to say the same things. If there’s anyone who’s really turned down, bring them to me.
“There are homeless people and people who care about them too. It’s not just the homeless. There are people who want to show him that no matter where you stand politically, these are humans, these are lives, these are not numbers and these are not dollar signs.