Government gives $6.3 million to help fight homelessness in Manitoba

The Manitoba government is putting more money towards helping our most vulnerable citizens, announcing several initiatives to help end homelessness across the province Thursday.

“We are aware that homelessness does not have a single cause, but stems from a combination of structural factors, system failures, and individual circumstance that is rooted in systemic racism and colonialism,” said Families Minister Rochelle Squires at the announcement.

More than $6.3 million in government funding will go towards various programs and community agencies such as N’Dinawemak, a warming centre that provides up to 150 spaces for those experiencing homelessness.

Last November, the province gave N’Dinawemak $1.5 million in funding. Thursday’s announcement promised an additional $1.87 million to help sustain 24-hour operations at the shelter.

Another organization getting money is End Homelessness Winnipeg, which will receive $1.25 million over five years to co-ordinate access to housing and supports, as well as provide responses to encampments and extreme weather.

“I’m very happy about today’s announcement,” said Jason Whitford, CEO of End Homelessness Winnipeg. “Tremendous appreciation to the front line staff that work day in and out. They show up for work every day, they work long shifts, they engage and interact, build relationships and supports.”

Funding of $500,000 will help with the planned Kinsmen Veterans Village in Transcona. The Homes for Heroes Foundation is building 20 tiny homes at a site on Transcona Boulevard. The village also includes a resource centre, two on-site counsellors, a community garden and recreational spaces.

Another $855,600 will go towards transitional housing services offered by the West Central Women’s Resource Centre.

The province is also spending $1 million to relaunch the Proposal Development Funding program, which funds new affordable and social housing projects. The province says it will issue a call for applications this summer to identify new housing projects.

The government says it will also continue indexing Rent Assist benefits to help more Manitobans receive assistance with their rent when they need it. It’s all part of a “whole-of-government strategy” the province has to end homelessness in Manitoba.

Whitford says the people are worth it.

“If you spent any time with individuals that are on the streets, they are very kind, they’re non-judgmental … they’re very loving, they have passions, they have goals, they have ambitions, but they’ve experienced hardships and they need people like us to help.”

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