Manitoba inner cities, First Nations should be priorities for affordable housing: advocate

Despite the multiple announcements for affordable housing funding for Manitoba over the last month, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) told Global News that more needs to be done in the province.

On July 19, representatives of all three levels of government announced a new project to provide $12.8 million for new affordable housing through the Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI).

The funding is set to provide 51 new affordable homes to Winnipeggers who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and are living in uncertain housing situations.

Read more: Winnipeg to see 51 new affordable homes as part of federal program

“The first round of funding for the Rapid Housing Initiative had a significant impact on the creation of affordable housing units in Winnipeg and I want to thank the federal government for their support of housing unsheltered Winnipeggers through another round of funding for this program,” said Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman during the announcement.

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On July 28, the federal and provincial governments announced that they were collaborating with the city of Brandon to develop affordable housing for the community in the form of a 48-unit complex at the site of the former Fleming school.

On July 30, the federal government announced $24.8 million in funding through both repayable and forgivable loans, as well as $2.6 million in grants for a new high-rise apartment at the site of the former Winnipeg police headquarters.

The new building will include 52 affordable housing units and is expected to be Canada’s first on-site net-zero affordable residential high-rise, according to a federal release.

Read more: Federal funds to help see eco high-rise built at former Winnipeg police headquarters site

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On Aug. 10, Minister of Families Ahmed Hussen and Winnipeg north Member of Parliament Kevin Lamoureux announced nearly 100 new affordable housing units for seniors.

The fund announced was $25.8 million from the federal government to build the assisted living facility.

With all these recent announcements addressing the issue of affordable housing within Manitoba, a representative from the CCPA, Josh Brandon, told Global News that more needs to be done to help inner-cities and indigenous communities in Manitoba.

“Indigenous communities, inner-city communities often don’t have the resources to put together the proposals and to get through all the necessary hoops to create more social housing and to work in partnership with some of the funding programs,” Brandon said.

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Brandon says there are groups that still need to be targeted when it comes to affordable housing.

“Especially some of the newcomer families that are coming into Canada and maybe have larger families,” Brandon noted.

“Indigenous households we know also are really at risk of homelessness and being in unaffordable housing, so those are some of the groups that I hope are targeted in some of the next rounds of discussions.”

with files from Global’s Sam Thompson and Shane Gibson 

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