November 06, 2015

Call to Keep Someone Safe This Winter

As temperatures start to dip, Regina Mobile Crisis Services, The Salvation Army, the Ministry of Social Services and their community partners are asking members of the public to call if they see someone in need of a warm place to stay.

“We need to make sure that everyone knows where to call if they see or know someone who is left out in the cold, especially as temperatures reach dangerously low levels throughout the winter,” Regina Mobile Crisis Services Executive Director John McFadyen said.  “We have a really good system to make sure that people have warm places to stay, so it’s important that people know how to access it.”

“If you see someone in immediate danger, call 911 to get that person the help they need right away,” Salvation Army Major Mike Hoeft said.  “If you personally know someone who is in need of help, please get them in touch with the Ministry of Social Services or any other community service agency.”

Since 2007, 248 new shelter spaces have been created in the province, which is a 128 per cent increase.  Government has also increased emergency shelter funding by 21 per cent for individuals and up to 361 per cent for families, depending on the number of children.

“Everyone should know that assistance is available for people who are in need of emergency shelter,” Social Services Minister Donna Harpauer said.  “It is so important that each one of us knows where to call if we see someone who needs help.”

In Regina, Mobile Crisis Services provides after-hours and weekend services and referrals and is available at 306-757-0127.  Individuals will be connected with the various shelter supports in Regina that are appropriate to their needs.  During weekday business hours, individuals can drop in to the Ministry of Social Services’ Regina Service Centre at 2045 Broad Street for assistance.

In Saskatoon, the Salvation Army, 306-242-6280 provides after-hours emergency services and referrals.  Individuals will be connected with the various shelter supports in Saskatoon that are appropriate to their needs.  During daytime business hours, individuals may drop in to the Ministry of Social Services’ Saskatoon Service Centre at 160 - 2nd Avenue South for assistance.

In Prince Albert, Prince Albert Mobile Crisis is available after hours at 306-764-1011 and will connect callers with shelter supports.  YWCA after hours emergency services for men and women at Our House, 15th Street Location, are available at 306-922-6162.

In other communities across the province, individuals are advised to contact their nearest Ministry of Social Services Service Centre at www.socialservices.gov.sk.ca/service-delivery, an emergency shelter or Mobile Crisis Service, if available in their community, or police.  If someone is in immediate danger, please call 911 to ensure a person in need receives help.  For a list of shelters and services for people in need across the province, individuals may also refer to the www.sk.211.ca website.

 “Nobody should be without a warm and safe place to sleep,” Harpauer said.  “This is why our ministry has partnered with local community-based organizations to help people without a place to call home.  These supports are designed to help people without the means to pay for their own shelter through income supports, emergency shelters, or short-term stays at hotels.”

Last year, the Regina Cold Weather Strategy group teamed up to develop a secure website to help make it easier to keep track of shelter capacity.  The website allows shelters to report their availability and keep the information up-to-date throughout the night.  Emergency Shelter Availability can be viewed at www.mobilecrisis.ca.

The Saskatoon Cold Weather Strategy group meets in advance of the winter season to activate their plan.  Daily communication through text messages, email or phone occurs when the wind-chill or temperature exceeds -40C, the snowfall warning is 10 or more centimeters, or there are serious weather warnings.  Participating organizations are advised by email when cold weather is predicted and submit an agency assessment summary.  A conference call is then held if the agency summary shows that there are pressures to meet the demand for services.