In the Fall of 2022, the Build Back Better research team–part of the RRSK project–concluded a provincial survey exploring how the pandemic affected four key areas of health equity: housing access, food security, mental health, and substance use.
Below we present some of the early findings about housing and food security in Saskatchewan.
Our first image is a map showing food insecurity across the province.
This Saskatchewan map shows the proportion of survey respondents who were classified as experiencing food insecurity (moderate to severe). Different colours correspond to different proportion of food insecurity—the darker the colour the higher the proportion. The areas in the map are: North West, North East, South West, South East, Saskatoon (Health Network areas), and Regina (Health Network areas). Those who were classified as having food insecurity issues ranged from 11% to 49% depending on the area. Food insecurity issues weren’t reported only in areas outside of Saskatoon and Regina. ‘Pockets’ within Saskatoon and Regina also reported high proportion of food insecurity issues.
Next we asked respondents if their housing situation changed during the pandemic.
This chart shows how housing was impacted by the pandemic, in Saskatchewan. 11%, or 1 in 10, indicated that they moved homes during the pandemic. Of those 11%, 23% said they moved homes because of the pandemic. 8% said that they delayed or skipped mortgage payment and of these, a majority, 63% indicated that this was due to the pandemic. In terms paying for home maintenance (rent, etc), 21% said that they had to cut back on other expenses in order to pay for housing; 16% were not able to pay for utilities.
Finally, we combined the survey responses on housing access and food security and mapped them across Saskatchewan.
This Saskatchewan map shows the proportion of adults who indicated that they experienced food and housing insecurities during the pandemic. Different colours correspond to different proportion of those who experience food and housing insecurity—the darker the colour the higher the proportion. The areas in the map are: North West, North East, South West, South East, Saskatoon (Health Network areas), and Regina (Health Network areas). Those who were classified as having both food and housing insecurity issues ranged from 2% to 16% depending on the area. Food and housing insecurity issues weren’t reported only in areas outside of Saskatoon and Regina. There were ‘pockets’ within Saskatoon and Regina who also reported high proportion of food and housing insecurity issues.
Our analysis of this rich survey data is ongoing and we will be releasing more information in the coming months. We are also interviewing service providers and users across the province to learn how they responded to increased demand for mental health, harm reduction, housing and food services during the pandemic.
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