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Saskatchewan’s Flawed Income Support Program Forcing People Onto The Streets, Social Worker Warns

Sparse housing options, dwindling benefits and red tape are forcing recipients of the new Saskatchewan Income Support (SIS) program — which replaced the Sask. Assistance Program back in August — out onto the streets.

Saskatchewan’s Flawed Income Support Program Forcing People Onto The Streets, Social Worker Warns
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From CBC: Sparse housing options, dwindling benefits and bureaucratic red tape are forcing recipients of the new Saskatchewan Income Support (SIS) program — which replaced the Sask. Assistance Program back in August — out onto the streets, CBC reported Wednesday.

  • Shannon Harvey-Benoit, a registered social worker with AIDS Programs South Saskatchewan in Regina, told CBC that recipients are being forced to sleep in cars, sheds, trailers or abandoned properties because there is no affordable housing.

SIS allocates $575 directly to eligible single-adults in Saskatoon and Regina to pay for rent and utilities, and a further $285 for food and other expenses. According to CBC, the cheapest housing listed by a local charity in Regina cost $650 per month for rent and utilities

  • Because landlords don’t receive the SIS shelter payments directly from the Sask. government, some are using loopholes like requiring several references before renting out to SIS recipients, Harvey-Benoit told CBC — a requirement that is virtually impossible to meet for people who are couch surfing or living a transient life.

Harvey-Benoit said: "It's a mess. I don't think that income assistance is really set up in a way to help people gain that stability in their lives."

  • According to the Sask. government website, SIS recipients must “have explored every other reasonable way to support (themselves) including employment, seeking child support, etc.” to be eligible for the benefit.

Applicants must also provide documentation such as pay stubs, copies of rental agreements or mortgage statements, a registered bank account and details about their financial means, the website states.

Read CBC’s full story here.

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