Today we released our Manitoba Liberal Caucus report on homelessness in Winnipeg. We recommend four major steps to be taken:
1) There is a need to provide additional daytime and 24/7 warming shelters. We call on the City of Winnipeg and the Province of Manitoba to open several community centres so that those who are homeless will have a place to be warm during the day, to get coffee and a bun and to use the washroom.
2) There is a need to shorten the wait time for people to get Employment and Income Assistance (EIA). EIA is the on-ramp for someone who is homeless to be able to have the financial support to get an apartment. Currently it takes three weeks just to get an intake appointment to get EIA. And for many who are homeless who miss getting the intake call, there is another three week wait. We call for the Province to dramatically shorten this wait, so that 90% of people can get EIA in 24 hours as a major step forward in helping people get housed.
3)There is a need for major improvements to help people with addictions. We call on the province to ensure that those who are ready for help to address their addictions will have rapid access to detox, followed by a seamless move to treatment when detox is completed, and followed in turn by a seamless move to a longer term recovery phase with supportive housing. Right now there is a major shortage of detox spaces and there can also be significant waits for treatment and recovery help in part because of poor coordination of services.
4) There is a need for a City of Winnipeg webpage with a consolidated listing of the location of available daytime and night warming shelters along with daily occupancy rates as Toronto does. We also call for the web page to list the waittimes for access to EIA and to the various stages of addictions therapy.
The full report is available by clicking on this link to the report - Homelessness in Winnipeg