Saskatoon agencies have come together with unprecedented commitment and action to address the Covid-19 crisis. Together, we have formed the Saskatoon Inter-agency Response to Covid-19, made up of over 50 agencies, including non-profit organizations providing front-line services and representatives of government agencies, like the City of Saskatoon, the Saskatoon Tribal Council, and the Saskatchewan Health Authority.
We are doing everything in our power to flatten the curve in Saskatoon by helping the most vulnerable people in our community to stay safe, reducing transmission of the virus and decreasing the burden and risk experienced by all frontline workers.
The Saskatoon Inter-agency Response is dedicated to meeting the needs of people who are especially vulnerable to the negative impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic due to entrenched housing and food insecurity.
Homelessness (rough sleeping, hidden homelessness)
Housed in systems (prison, health care, etc)
- Lacking adequate, affordable access to appropriate and healthy food
We recognize that the legacies of colonialism and systemic racism in Saskatchewan have caused the over-representation of Indigenous people in the vulnerable population. As such, special attention is being paid to ensure that Indigenous service providers receive equitable access to funding and support to work in collaboration with the COVID-19 Inter-Agency Response and provide essential services for the urban Indigenous people who call Saskatoon home.
Vulnerable Sector Strategy
The Saskatoon Inter-agency created a Vulnerable Sector Strategy with six critical components that are interdependent. Without all six, the strategy will fail.
To assist vulnerable community members comply with social distancing and other health directives, the Hub is providing in person help to homeless and precariously housed people so they can gain access to housing and other necessary supports.
To provide immediate, temporary shelter for those who will otherwise have no way to social isolate, the Hotel Group is creating a process that is strategically aligned to SHA’s provincial hotel framework Hotels are not a long term solution for all; this process is tied tightly to the Housing Group.
To support the year-round work of transitioning people into long term housing, the Housing Group (led by SHIP), is matching people to available, appropriate housing options where possible. In hopes of expediting access to the Ministry of Social Services’s Sask Housing Authority stock, which has been promised to be made more available and accessible, the Housing Group is developing the most efficient and effective process to identify vulnerable people in shelters, hotels, as well as those being release from Health or Justice systems, to move them immediately into furnished Housing Authority suites and identify wrap around services needed.
Testing & Isolation
To facilitate early detection and isolation of COVID-19 cases within the vulnerable population, the Testing & Isolation Group (led by SHA) has opened a client-centred COVID-19 test centre(s) to meet the needs of the most vulnerable in Saskatoon. COVID-19 suspected clients will be connected directly to the Hotel process in order to accommodate the public health directives of social isolation for 14 days.
To prevent additional burden on emergency and health services, the Harm Reduction Group is working to limit infectious disease spread and mitigate increases in overdoses due to change in drug supply and decreased access to community supports. This team also plays a critical role in supporting the efficacy of the Hotel and Housing Groups, recognizing that some of the hardest to house vulnerable people will be in these shelter spaces.
To coordinate, support, monitor and report emergency food provision (pick-up and delivery) for the vulnerable population, the Food Group is collaborating with existing food providers (ex. Friendship Inn, White Buffalo Youth Lodge, Saskatoon Food Bank & Learning Centre). Access to safe, affordable and appropriate food will be embedded in the Hotel and Housing Group process to ensure people are supported while being isolated.