Unlivable Housing

Unlivable Housing

By Whitney Greenleaf

(In January, 2023 issue of the online newsletter-The Weaver)

Homelessness is not just one thing. It doesn’t affect just one gender, it doesn’t affect one age group, it doesn’t affect one race. At the bottom line it affects us all. We see it every day, even if you don't pay attention it's still there.

That man you see sitting on the side of the sidewalk. Yeah, he may very well be homeless. I guarantee everyone has at least one person close to them who has known someone who was homeless or has experienced housing insecurity at one point in their lives. If they have not, then they have privilege that most of us will never understand. Here are some articles that I have found that reveal major factors of homelessness. Rather than trying to cover the subject of homelessness entirely, I've chosen to introduce these articles by asking: What is the definition of housing? What are the basics meant to be?

Is it just 4 walls and a roof? It's way more than that. Here's buildings with exactly that: a dog house, a shed, a cabin... you get the picture. If you check Wikipedia the definition of housing goes “Housing, or more generally, living spaces, refers to the construction and assigned usage of houses or buildings individually or collectively, for the purpose of shelter. Housing ensures that members of society have a place to live, whether it is a home or some other kind of dwelling, lodging or shelter.” In order for landlords to even be able to legally rent an apartment it must be equipped with running water and heat (it’s a lot more than that, but that should be the bare minimum). You can't just give people a place to live. It has to be a safe place to live.

CTV reported that, because of the poor condition of much government housing, it wasn’t livable : 


Murray Mandryk reported in Regina about a vacant four-plex that blew up:


Here’s  a report from the 2021 Census on housing conditions among First Nations people, Métis and Inuit in Canada:


CBC reports a woman dying from effects of a bed bug infestation:


Housing in Saskatchewan is not being maintained properly. The Sask Housing Authority and the various social housing companies only charge 30% of a tenant’s income. The income for a a single person is $915 or for a couple with 2 kids it is $1,445 (source: https://www.saskatchewan.ca/residents/family-and-social-support/financial-help/saskatchewan-income-support-sis ) These companies don’t make enough money to afford the repairs. That’s why these places have become uninhabitable. If there were a guaranteed livable income -- say around $2,000 as we saw with CERB -- that would double the rent and these companies would be making more money for repairs.


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  • Valerie Brooks