Saskatoon addictions, incapacity housing receives increase

More recovery care is now available in Saskatoon.

Oxford House Saskatchewan (OHS), based in Regina, has expanded 25 beds among five houses to help ensure sober living environments for individuals suffering from addictions.

“We need to continue to do work in this area,” Gordon Wyant, Minister of Justice and Attorney General said.

“Twenty-five is a good first step in Saskatoon but we certainly need to do some more work and as the government moves forward, having conversations across government, across government ministries, to look for other options to provide additional services to people who are suffering from addiction.”

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The grand opening was held Friday but individuals have already been living in four of the five homes.

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There’s no limit to how long residents can stay. OHS’s executive director says there’s a huge need for people in addiction recovery.

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“We have individuals that have been with us five, six years now and a typical stay is about three to six months,” Mark Soloway said.

Across town, the provincial government also opened a second batch of homes. Fourteen new, affordable rental units in Willowview Heights and Aspen Heights are available for people with disabilities.

“I think too many of us take a home for granted and it’s always been the place you could go and you felt safe, and for a person not to have a home of their own is really sad,” Marv Friesen, MLA for Saskatoon Riversdale said.

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A front line addictions worker welcomed the openings. Housing, she says, is crucial for recovery and often out of reach for many.

“I think any opportunity that we have to support programs that are available for people who are using substances, especially in that post-treatment phase, is really wonderful,” said Kayla DeMong, Prairie Harm Reduction executive director.

Government officials say they hope to expand both housing programs in the future and DeMong adds that it’s a good start.

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But overdoses have spiked in the past two years and what people need are shelter and stability.

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