January 26, 2022 – Project Expanding Overnight Capacity by 50 Spaces: Squires
The Manitoba and federal governments have provided $1.5 million in funding to Main Street Project (MSP) for a COVID-19 expansion of its shelter facility in Winnipeg’s inner city, Families Minister Rochelle Squires and federal Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion Ahmed Hussen announced today.
“Adequate overnight options for people experiencing homelessness are essential, especially in the colder winter months,” said Squires. “Although more work is needed to support Manitoba’s homeless population, Main Street Project’s success in expanding its shelter will help more people find a safe place to stay and to receive support.”
The new project was developed at the former Mitchell Fabrics building at 637 Main St. To allow for physical distancing and to expand overnight shelter capacity, MSP completed renovations to increase to 120 overnight beds from 70 mats at its former location. The new site has been at or over capacity since it opened in December 2020, noted the minister.
“Being able to open our new shelter doors in December 2020 to support Winnipeg’s most marginalized population with a level of dignity we have not been able to provide in the past has been critically important for us,” said Jamil Mahmood, executive director, Main Street Project. “The onset of the pandemic magnified the need for appropriate space and our funders stepped up to support our efforts to purchase and renovate quickly. The shelter has been highly used 24-7 since opening, offering low-barrier services to thousands of people with nowhere else to turn.”
Manitoba Housing and the Government of Canada are providing the $1.5-million capital contribution from the Canada-Manitoba Bilateral Agreement under the National Housing Strategy to support MSP’s capital costs for the acquisition of the former Mitchell Fabrics building for its expansion.
The Government of Canada, through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, has also invested $2 million from the National Housing Strategy’s National Housing Co-investment Fund to support the construction.
“Every Canadian deserves a roof over their head,” said Hussen. “Our government is continuing to invest in the Main Street Project because it is more than just a safe place to spend the night; it is key to a better life for those who come here when they have nowhere else to go. This is the National Housing Strategy in action.”
In addition, more than $800,000 from private donations and $500,000 from The Winnipeg Foundation have gone toward the project.
Squires noted today’s announcement builds on other recent Manitoba government investments in housing and initiatives to address homelessness in recent months including:
- investing $100,000 in capital construction for a 21-unit affordable housing project at 545 Broadway for the 2SLGBTQ+ community;
- investing nearly $2 million at 390 Ross Ave., an affordable housing project in Winnipeg’s inner city for vulnerable people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, and for those dealing with mental health and addictions issues;
- providing $1.5 million to End Homelessness Winnipeg to create an additional warming space called N’Dinawekmak – Our Relatives, which will create up to 150 new overnight beds and a community care camp in Winnipeg for those most in need;
- investing more than $6 million to address homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic, including $5.8 million for Siloam Mission, Resource Assistance for Youth and Salvation Army in Winnipeg for overnight beds and physical distancing, as well as for daytime drop-in and alternative isolation accommodations operated by Main Street Project; and
- creating the province’s first rent bank program to support stable housing for low-income to moderate-income families by investing $5.6 million for interest-free loans to tenants who are behind in their rent or need more suitable housing.
For more information on Main Street Project, visit www.mainstreetproject.ca/.
– 30 –