Regina Mayor Sandra Masters claims a tent city that has formed in front of city hall is more about substance abuse issues, not housing availability.
Masters, who declined to comment on the camp on Monday, said that a tent is never the answer to addressing homelessness.
“We have I think as of yesterday [Monday], 35 spaces and shelters available, we have housing available,” she said.
“I think the really significant issue right now is actual substance use disorder.”
Masters said available shelters and housing have rules attached to them in regards to substance use and intoxication levels that may keep people in need away.
“We can understand that addiction is an incredibly strong thing, so there has been a decline in service from social services,” Masters said. “So I think we’re going to continue to collaborate with the province and with fire and police to determine how we can move folks along into a situation which is better than a tent encampment.”
The encampment has been operating in front of city hall since last Thursday after a group of people participating in a community barbecue at Pepsi Park were told they had to leave by 11 p.m.
Volunteers have been on site since last Friday providing food and tents.
Local restaurants have also provided some meals for those living in the camp.
Masters said the 35 spaces currently available in Regina for those experiencing homelessness comes straight from social services.
More to come…
— With files from Wayne Mantyka