Saskatoon’s homeless population is overwhelmingly aboriginal, generally male and fairly young.
This based on data collected by the Community-University Institute for Social Research (CUISR) during a point-in-time (PIT) count done on June 22.
Isobel Findlay, university director of CUISR, detailed the findings at a presentation at Station 20 West on Wednesday.
“The largest percentage by ethnicity were aboriginal people… in terms of gender, 62 per cent were male, 27 per cent were women. 45 per cent were between 26 and 49,” she said.
Overall, the count found 450 homeless people in Saskatoon. Of those, 45 were children.
CUISR has previously done counts in 2008 and 2012. Findlay said it was difficult to draw trends between counts, as methodologies have changed. But she acknowledged that a jump from 11 children counted among the homeless in 2012 to 45 this year was troubling.
“I don’t have an easy answer for that. We’re still digging through the data for clues as to why that would be the case. All but two were sheltered, but it is disturbing that 45 children are without permanent homes,” she said.
Findlay cautioned that PIT counts suffer from several limitations. Among them, people were asked to self-report. Findlay said many people without permanent homes are not necessarily willing to describe themselves as ‘homeless.’ Findlay said that overall, the numbers she reported are almost certainly low.
Findlay said Wednesday’s presentation represented just the raw numbers they were able to gather. She said researchers are still going over data for a comprehensive report to be published in September.