March 2, 2021 – More Than $2.5 Million for Additional Wrap-Around Supports to Individuals Experiencing Homelessness in Winnipeg: Squires
The Manitoba government is providing $2.56 million to the Manitoba Non-Profit Housing Association (MNPHA) for projects in Winnipeg over the next two years with community partners to transition homeless people into stable housing environments, Families Minister Rochelle Squires announced today.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has put people experiencing homelessness at even greater risk and we know the importance of permanent housing solutions,” said Squires. “We have also learned that simply housing individuals who have experienced homelessness is not enough. Additional layers of wrap-around supports for individuals and families will be provided to give them much better chances of success, and this investment will enable the MNPHA to deliver those supports.”
The MNPHA will select and oversee proposals from community partners for the delivery of tenant supports initially targeting 250 individuals experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness to allow them to secure and maintain short-term or long-term housing. The province’s funding will provide wrap-around services such as case management, supports for activities for daily living, addictions treatment, mental health treatment, emergency meal services, reconnections to family and other social supports, and referrals for education upgrades or employment. Agencies involved with people experiencing homelessness will be tasked with tailoring the appropriate supports for the individuals to be housed. Employment and Income Assistance, a provincial income support program for low-income Manitobans, will also be a vital partner in this work to help individuals find and maintain housing, the minister said.
By the end of March, Manitoba Housing plans to rapidly house 50 individuals or families who are homeless, or at risk of becoming homeless, at units it has made available immediately. This will be done with assistance from community partner agencies Siloam Mission, North End Community Renewal Corporation, West Central Women’s Resource Centre, My Health Team, Salvation Army and Downtown Community Safety Partnership.
“While housing is foundational to addressing homelessness, sometimes additional supports are needed so people not only stay housed, but achieve their goals and thrive,” said Christina Maes Nino, executive director, Manitoba Non-Profit Housing Association. “This announcement will help reinforce the safety net our members provide to Manitobans who have been marginalized and face the most barriers in finding and maintaining housing.”
The provision of housing for individuals experiencing homelessness continues to be a priority, Squires said. Between April 2020 and January 2021, the Department of Families and its community-based partners housed 735 vulnerable individuals who were homeless, temporarily sheltered or fleeing domestic violence.
The minister noted, as well, the Community 24-Hour Drop-In in Winnipeg, funded by the province and operated by the Spence Neighbourhood Association, has seen 1,243 drop-ins with no wait times since the site opened in December 2020. The Community 24-Hour Drop-In provides a supportive environment for individuals with mental health and addictions issues, and offers clients food, hygiene kits, winter clothing, and health and social service supports and referrals. The site provides an alternative to the streets, where there is a risk of police involvement, emergency department visits and harm through violence and injury.
The drop-in site’s first month of operations delivered 213 overnight services for clients, 2,596 meals, 254 hygiene kits and more than 458 items of winter clothing. The service has expanded its daytime drop-in hours to five days per week and its overnight space to seven days per week.
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