Broten condemns Wall's cuts to homeless-shelter funding

NDP Leader says cuts will cost more

To deal with their massive deficit, the Sask. Party is slashing supports for vulnerable people – a decision NDP Leader Cam Broten says is disgusting, shortsighted and will cost more overall.

“We’ve had a decade of boom, but Mr. Wall didn’t save a dime, and has spent us into deficit. Now, instead of cutting his own waste, he’s cutting funding for homeless shelters. Mr. Wall might call that keeping Saskatchewan strong, but I call it wrong,” said Broten. “No wonder he’s refused to get back into the legislature, to discuss his deficit, cuts and budget plans. He doesn’t want Saskatchewan people to see how messed up his priorities are – cutting funding for homeless shelters, hospitals and schools, but keeping his entitlements and waste.”

The Lighthouse, an emergency shelter, said they no longer get the per-day funding for about half of the people who come to them, thanks to the cut. They’ve had to stop opening their doors during the daytime, and while the Sask. Party told them to start charging some people to stay there, the Lighthouse said that’s unrealistic.

“This Sask. Party cut really is horribly short-sighted,” said Broten. “Giving a safe place to sleep and a warm meal is basic human decency – but just imagine how much better off our province would be if we took the long view. If emergency shelters had the resources to match people with case workers, who had the time to help people get into appropriate situations – like appropriate and stable housing, mental health care or a job or job-training program.”

Saskatoon Police Chief Clive Weighill told CTV Saskatoon that the Lighthouse cuts are a setback, saying: “These are the most needy people in our society, they have to have someplace that they can go during the daytime and in the evening. It’s stabilization, health – and now to have the doors closed in the daytime it’s going to put more people back on the streets downtown.”

The Lighthouse emergency shelter was specifically designed to provide immediate overnight shelter to take pressure off police cells, detox facilities and emergency rooms.

 “Mr. Wall and the Sask. Party let us down during good times, and it’s increasingly clear we can’t trust them during tough times,” said Broten. “We can’t afford four more years of their misplaced priorities, while they slash the public services we should all be able to count on.”