Winnipeg’s Siloam Mission ‘fortunate’ to receive federal housing funding

One of Winnipeg’s leading support services for people experiencing homelessness just got a little more jingle in its pocket.

Siloam Mission is one of several community groups that will receive a piece of a $12.5-million pie from the federal government, following a joint announcement between the feds, province, and City of Winnipeg on Friday.

Read more: 5 projects to bring 88 new affordable housing units to Winnipeg

The pool of money is part of Ottawa’s billion-dollar national Rapid Housing initiative, aimed at creating 3,000 units for some of the nation’s most vulnerable.

“We feel very fortunate,” CEO Jim Bell tells 680 CJOB. “We’re very pleased at the timing of it, given a project we started (at Siloam Mission).”

Bell says over a year ago, the province approved a proposal from the organization that would support the construction of safe spaces for people leaving addictions treatment.

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“At that point in time, we were completing the Buhler Centre and preparing to move in — but we left space for a future project at our old location at 300 Princess (Street).”

That project would turn out to be a 20-bed space for supportive recovery.

Bell says it had garnered financial support already, but this announcement from the feds put it over the top.

“We were supported by the provincial government with $500,000, our donor base has gotten firmly behind us, and now the timing of this rapid housing is perfect.”

Read more: 15 Canadian cities to share $500M for rapid housing amid coronavirus: feds

Siloam Mission will receive up to $1.53 million for the space, which aims to give those leaving addictions treatment a place to call home, instead of them being thrust into homelessness.

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“Construction is underway. The requirement is to be ready by April, so four and a half months from now,” Bell explains. “Right now, I feel confident we will meet that timeline.”

Aside from Siloam Mission, groups such as Salvation Army, New Directions, Shawenim Abinoojii Inc., and the Winnipeg Housing Rehabilitation Corporation will also receive money — with a total of 88 new affordable housing units coming to the city.

Read more: Salvation Army introduces digital donations for 2020 Christmas kettle campaign

Federal Families, Children and Social Development Minister Ahmed Hussen says the pandemic has shown just how vulnerable some people truly are.

“The reality is that the populations in our communities that are most at risk for COVID-19 are also more likely to find themselves in precarious housing situations.”

The funding targets specific groups most at-risk of homelessness — with the Salvation Army’s project targeting at-risk, and New Directions building nine units for people with developmental disabilities.

The feds expect those units to be built, and filled, in the next 12 months.

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