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Councillors seeking declaration of houselessness emergency

Notice of Motion signed by four Regina councillors is calling for declaration of houselessness emergency, and creating a plan by Quarter Three.
City Hall Regina Oct. 2022
City Hall in Regina will see a busy agenda for its meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 16.

REGINA - A notice of motion is on the agenda of Regina City Council on Wednesday calling for a houselessness emergency.

Four Regina councillors — Shanon Zachidniak, Cheryl Stadnichuk, Andrew Stevens and Dan LeBlanc — have submitted the notice of motion which will be presented to Wednesday’s meeting. That notice of motion calls for the City of Regina to declare a “houselessness emergency.”

The motion also resolves that city council “call on the Governments of Saskatchewan and Canada to contribute emergency funding to address the urgent houselessness crisis immediately.”

The resolution also would see city council to “direct Administration to create a plan by the end of Q3 (2023) to provide temporary barrier-free shelter for Regina residents in need, with the opportunity to provide input from the houseless, Indigenous leaders and local organizations working in mental health, addictions, and housing.”

It also called for the City of Regina to “make a long-term commitment to address houselessness as part of the 2024 budget process,” and to call on the federal and provincial government to collaborate by making long term commitments.

The final portion of the motion calls for the City and its partners to utilize the following procedures to address encampments: that encampments will receive a written safety checklist and help to ensure they are compliant, and that encampments “can only be dismantled for safety reasons if a documented pattern of unwillingness to address multiple safety concerns can be demonstrated in writing to the encampment residents and City Council.”

This is one of two Notices of Motion being presented at the meeting. The other deals with written notice of special council  meetings, which stems from the situation in July when a special meeting was called on the homeless encampment, which was cancelled due to lack of quorum. 

That motion would call for the Procedure Bylaw to be amended so that 24 hours advance written notice be provided to all members of the time, date and place of the meeting, and outline the nature of the businesses to be considered at the meeting, among other points. It also states once a meeting is called, “it cannot be cancelled due to a lack of quorum prior to the Call to Order.”

The two Notices of Motion are being considered at the end of the agenda for Wednesday’s meeting. Unanimous consent is required to waive the notice of motions so they can be discussed at the Wednesday meeting, otherwise they will be on the agenda for discussion at the Sept. 13 meeting.

The Wednesday meeting already has a full agenda of items on deck. Among the topics set to come up include use of alcohol in City of Regina parks, the Saskatchewan Drive Corridor Plan, a Regina Transit update, and a request for the city to be designated as an eligible assistance area under the Provincial Disaster Assistance Program after the heavy rainfall events of June 2 and 7.

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