David Fineday is one of many townspeople who have experienced homelessness at least once in his life.
“About five years ago I was homeless,” Fineday said.
He was one of a large crowd of people to attend a community appreciation day at Station 20 West in Saskatoon. He said there are more people affected by homelessness than experts think.
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“There’s a lot of denial and a lot of people will say no, we have a home, we have a home,” Fineday said, “They may have a home but they’re homeless and that’s what I try to make people understand.”
Fineday said people often couch surf = surf at a family member’s house and those who don’t are on the street. He said he hopes the event will help people better understand the reality of homelessness in Saskatoon.
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“They don’t understand how to take care of us,” Fineday said. “What kind of help do we need personally, mentally, everything, addictions, all that stuff and hopefully that helps open that door.”
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Fineday has a home right now, but experts say homelessness is on the rise in the city.
Over the past five years, homelessness has increased from 475 to 550 people. However, Fineday thinks the number is probably closer to 1,500 or more because people are too embarrassed to admit they have nowhere to live.
“We found more people this year than any other count we’ve done in Saskatoon,” said Brenna Sych, communications coordinator for the Saskatoon Housing Initiative Partnership.
Sych said homelessness is getting worse and something needs to be done about it. She said changes to available programs have resulted in more people on the streets. She said intergenerational trauma and addictions are also factors.
“A continuum of care is needed to be able to support people from start to finish through finding housing and continuing care,” Sych said.
Sych said homelessness has no eyes and many are a family emergency from homelessness.
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