Homeless residents in Regina ER spikes

Emergency room sign

Regina emergency rooms are being swamped with both patients and those looking to escape the cold weather.

Regina’s emergency rooms are full with patients and those looking to escape the cold weather. Following a visit to the ER, one Regina mother is voicing concerns about hospital safety.

Regina resident Holli Appelquist was upset by what she saw at Regina General Hospital’s ER.

“There was people there I’m assuming homeless. You know, they need somewhere to go too,” Applequist said. “They were there probably to warm up and charge their cellphones.”

She believes the homelessness situation in Regina should be addressed.

“We need to deal with the homeless situation, the substance abuse situation in our community,” Applequist explained.

“That should open up a safer ER experience and hopefully also reduce waiting times for people.”

Aurora Marinari, a spokesperson for Carmichael Outreach, said the library and police cells are also full with individuals trying to stay warm and out of the cold.

“People are desperate. They don’t have anywhere to go,” Marinari explained.

“We don’t have a 24-hour warming shelter or warming centre in the city so people just feel lost, betrayed and broken.”

Regina’s houseless population often find temporary shelter in lobbies in the city’s downtown. However, many are kicked out shortly after.

The provincial government claims there are emergency shelters available.

“They do have that,” Minister of Health Paul Merriman told CTV News.

“We don’t want anyone experiencing a night in Saskatchewan, especially as the weather is turning colder but I’m not aware of them using emergency rooms.”

Marinari said a 24-hour warm up shelter is needed in the Queen City.

“At the very least we need a place where people can just go all day long, overnight where they can just be warm,” she said.

“So they aren’t freezing to death or overdosing to death in a back alley or a park, just so they are somewhere safe.”

Several groups have made funding requests to various levels of government for better warm-up facilities.

They’re still waiting for a response.

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