I met Petrina and her daughter in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. Petrina lives with her three children in a women’s shelter, and her husband stays at a men’s shelter on the other side of town.

Families having to split up is often common in homeless services, and can be a road block to families accepting services. Unfortunately, in communities where there is no family specific shelter the only options are remain homeless or split up.

Social assistance provides this family with $688 a month, which makes it challenging to rent an apartment. Daycare is also an issue. The cost of daycare is the reason Petrina had to drop out of school and often becomes a barrier to finding employment.


Special thanks to Salvation Army in Saskatoon

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  • Tired

    I would just like to correct some of the misinformation.

    $688 is the basic rate for rent. In addition, there is the rental housing supplement available that will assist with the cost of housing. The cost of 3 bedroom places in Saskatoon are quite high, but if any one in family is working, they also qualify for the employment supplement. Between the two programs, they may receive an additional $300 – $500 extra a month. If they’re on social assistance, the ministry will secure the damage deposit up to the maximum shelter rate and the family will be responsible for the other half. Most landlords will allow the difference to be paid in installments. If they have to wait at all, which sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t, then perhaps they need to realize that a working person is in much the same situation, so it really shouldn’t be a case of discrimination against low income working people and low income people on social assistance.

    In addition to this, the family will receive a basic allowance from social services, and have all their utilities paid. Plus, they get the child tax benefit which is likely around $1500+ per month. Do the math – $1500 + $500 + $500 + $688 = $3188 a month. Plus the utilities get paid for, they qualify for low income rates and freebies that others don’t. I work and my pay is less than that, I don’t get free stuff, I don’t qualify for subsidy, and I pay taxes on my income.

    Homelessness is a serious issue and has been for some time, particularly when the vacancy rate is low. However, in this case, this is nothing more than a “poor me” ploy and it is full of half truths. Yeah, you have your struggles, just like the rest of us and that is very sad. Welcome to the world wide club.

    Perhaps one  of the things you should have wished for is that people don’t know what is really going on.

  • Richard Clemens

    Good luck to you and your family!! Stay strong!!God bless you!!

  • :)

     Why dont you reach out and explain this to her and her family? Why don’t you inform her, advocate for her, and help her get connected with these resources? Or are you too quick to point the finger and add to the stigmas and problems this family faces?

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