Saskatoon city council paves way​ for emergency homeless shelters

Temporary emergency homeless shelters can be set up in Saskatoon following a city council vote on Monday.

Council voted unanimously in favour of changing a Saskatoon bylaw to allow for emergency homeless shelters.

Currently, Saskatoon’s zoning bylaw doesn’t allow the temporary establishment of emergency shelters.

Council voted to make changes to the bylaw, to respond to the issue of homelessness in the winter, as outlined in a city administration report.

“Ensuring adequate and safe shelter space is available for winter has become an urgent issue in Saskatoon,” the report reads.

The Saskatoon Tribal Council and the Lighthouse were consulted to develop the new policy.

Those interested in creating a temporary shelter must submit a plan to the city.

The plan must outline: the building location, details of sleeping areas, washrooms, staffing, start and end date of occupancy and maximum capacity.

The temporary facilities are only allowed to operate for a maximum of six months, according to the city.

The shelters are not permitted in sites deemed unsafe or in low-density housing — which includes townhouses or secondary units of homes.