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Questioning the Minister on her plan to end homelessness

 On  Tuesday March 9 I asked in Question Period about the government's plan to house those who are homelessness.  In essence the problem is this  -for years NDP and Conservative governments in Manitoba have talked about ending homelessness, but have failed to implement a plan which will house all those  who are homeless.  This type of plan - which provides only a proportion of the housing needed - is a plan which continues to perpetuate homelessness. Recently,  the government brought forward  a  plan which forsees housing for only 250 of the 1500 or more people who are  experiencing homelessness in Winnipeg.    In Rochelle Squires answer  below, she talks of having created  713  new affordable housing units. She does not talk about the many units which  have been sold off. As  of today,  the 250 housing units in the  government's recent press release are the only ones to  be created which will directly address those who are homeless.  Furthermore, the large number of homeless people who were in  bus shelters this winter speaks loudly to the inability of the province  to  achieve housing rapidly for so many who are experiencing homelessness. Our report on homelessness,  provides an alternative group of measures to ensure those experiencing homelessness are housed rapidly as they are  in Medicine Hat.  During the research to prepare our  report I  met a gentleman experiencing homelessness  and living in a bus shelter who had  previously visited Medicine Hat. He  said "In  Medicine Hat, they don't even let you be  homeless."  He described how he was put in a  motel as soon  as he was  found to  be homeless and was then  provided help with a variety of resources  so he would  not need to be homeless  and could turn his life  around.   Our report "All  the way Home"  can be found by clicking on this  link.  Our plan envisages the sort of wrap around  supports that the  Minister mentions, but would enable rapid  housing  instead of  those who are experiencing homelessness instead of continuing the present approach which perpetuates homelessness in Winnipeg. 

Homelessness in Winnipeg
Request for Housing Plan

Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): Madam Speaker, the best estimate we have of the number of people experiencing homelessness in Winnipeg is 1,500. This is from a street census in 2018. It's widely suspected this is an underestimate.

      If the minister is only planning to help 250 of these 1,500 people get housed, the minister's plan is  to  perpetuate homelessness, with 1,250 people continuing to have to live in shelters, including bus shelters.

      Why is the minister planning to perpetuate homelessness in Winnipeg instead of planning to house all of the 1,500 people experiencing home­lessness, and thus to end homelessness, as places like Medicine Hat have done?

Hon. Rochelle Squires (Minister of Families): I'm pleased to take an opportunity to provide some correct information, and I'd also like to table some information that shows that our government has created 713 new affordable housing units since we formed government.

      We are also working towards supporting our–those who are homeless or who are precariously housed by also providing wraparound supports.

      We know that just throwing the keys at someone isn't just the solution. We also have to provide services so that they can have supports for mental health, for addictions, for education opportunities and other opportunities that they can achieve their full life. That is what our government is doing, is providing housing as well as wraparound supports for all those who need it.


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