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  • Winnipeg Tribune

Manitoba Government Doubles Funding to Address Homelessness


Monday, October 31, 2022 - The Manitoba Government will double funding to help address homelessness issues with investments in shelters and rental supports.


“The path to a safe community is supporting those who need it most,” said Premier Stefanson. “This journey will take a community effort to solve these complex issues, and I want Manitobans to know that our government is listening, we are taking action and getting things done for the benefit of all Manitobans. Today we are pleased to announce various initiatives to support Manitobans seeking safe shelter and affordable housing.”


The Manitoba government will provide new funding to community-based organizations that work directly with people experiencing or at risk of homelessness and meet acute needs in Winnipeg, Brandon, Thompson and The Pas.


Manitoba will increase its annual funding rates to shelters, transitional housing services and homeless outreach mentors to $15.1 million from $6.1 million. This new annual $9-million investment will support services that play a vital role in responding to homelessness, caring for the immediate needs of people experiencing homelessness, supporting them in the early stages of their housing journey and connecting them to vital housing, mental health and addictions supports, the premier said.


“We are more than doubling the support provided to our shelters that in turn support our most vulnerable citizens because it is the right thing to do,” said Minister Squires, noting that annual funding has not increased since 2009. “These service providers offer shelter, warmth, community and connection to essential social services.”


Additionally, the Department of Families will provide a further $1.7 million in funding to support N’Dinawemak’s 24-7 operations, recognizing the important role that it has played in Winnipeg since opening in November 2021.


To focus on homelessness prevention, the Manitoba government is deepening the subsidy level to make rent more affordable for Manitobans who are receiving Employment and Income Assistance (EIA), added Squires. Currently, EIA Rent Assist, which is provided as part of regular monthly benefits to EIA clients renting in the private market, is indexed to 75 per cent of the median market rent. This rate will increase to 77 per cent of median market rent beginning in January 2023. The increase to Rent Assist will result in maximum monthly benefits rising between $34 and $70, depending on the size of the household. This represents an approximate six per cent increase in benefits.


“We know that demand for affordable housing is significantly greater than supply in Manitoba. This increase means Manitobans can afford to stay in their homes,” said Squires.


The Manitoba government is also preventing Manitobans in transition from falling into homelessness. The Department of Families will be issuing a request for proposals (RFP) to collaborate with a community organization for up to $2 million to support a post-bail job-training program. This program will deliver employment and training programming with intensive and personalized wraparound supports for individuals on bail and who are in receipt of EIA. Assisting those involved in the criminal justice system move toward employment will decrease the likelihood of re-offence and support rehabilitation, Squires noted.


The investment announced today aligns with the overall goals of Manitoba’s first whole-of-government homelessness strategy and ongoing dialogue with the homeless serving sector. To inform the strategy, the Department of Families consulted with almost 400 Manitobans including 90 people with lived experience. The support also builds on more than $5.4 million in initial actions taken in support of that strategy.


The whole-of-government strategy includes five key pillars:

  • modernizing the emergency response,

  • ensuring housing is provided with support,

  • focusing on prevention,

  • improving service navigation and delivery, and

  • recognizing rural and northern needs.

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