WINNIPEG - The Manitoba government is investing $1.5 million in a partnership with End Homelessness Winnipeg to create an additional winter warming space for those struggling to find a safe place to live, with more than 100 new overnight beds.
Premier Heather Stefanson says the funding will support up to 150 new overnight beds to address findings by End Homelessness Winnipeg’s 2021 interim point-in-time Street Census released earlier this month that found there were more than 1,120 people experiencing homelessness within its 24-hour census period. It observed 38 per cent of that population sleeping in unsheltered locations such as encampments and transit shelters.
“We are committed to listening and working collaboratively with our community leaders and partners to provide supports that will make a real difference for those most in need,” Stefanson says. Street census data collected every three years since 2015 shows at least two-thirds of those experiencing homelessness in Winnipeg are Indigenous. Stefanson says the warming space will be guided by a coalition of Indigenous organizations.
“As the temperature drops, it is important that we step up for our most vulnerable,” Families Minister Rochelle Squires says. She notes that the homeless-serving sector has been consulting with the government about the need for low-barrier, Indigenous-led support for those who need shelter from the cold.
The province says it has invested over $6 million to address homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic, including $5.8 million for Siloam Mission, Resource Assistance for Youth, and Salvation Army for shelter beds, and daytime drop-in programming provided by Main Street Project.