November 21, 2018

Winnipeg
-12° C, Overcast

Full Forecast

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

$212 million to battle poverty

Province to place greater emphasis on housing needs

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 21/5/2009 (3470 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

WINNIPEG — After years of sniping from left-wing critics that it has done too little to fight poverty, the Doer government fired back Thursday with a new "comprehensive" strategy that brought kudos from social agencies and business leaders alike.

The province announced it has earmarked $212 million in new funding this year for bricks-and-mortar projects, as well as programming for low-income Manitobans.

It also signalled a change in how it deals with people with mental-health issues and addictions, placing greater emphasis on housing. The "housing first" approach means the government will try to put a roof over a person's head before offering other supports.

"We understand that on a cold night in Manitoba, 550 people will rely on emergency shelters. That's a disgrace. That's unworthy of this great province and we have to do better," Family Services and Housing Minister Gord Mackintosh told a press conference Thursday.

Get the full story.
No credit card required. Cancel anytime.

Join free for 30 days

After that, pay as little as $0.99 per month for the best local news coverage in Manitoba.

 

Already a subscriber?

Log in

Join free for 30 days

 

Already a subscriber?

Log in

Subscribers Log in below to continue reading,
not a subscriber? Create an account to start a 30 day free trial.

Log in Create your account

Your free trial has come to an end.

We hope you have enjoyed your trial! To continue reading, we recommend our Read Now Pay Later membership. Simply add a form of payment and pay only 27¢ per article.

For unlimited access to the best local, national, and international news and much more, try an All Access Digital subscription:

Thank you for supporting the journalism that our community needs!

Your free trial has come to an end.

We hope you have enjoyed your trial! To continue reading, we recommend our Read Now Pay Later membership. Simply add a form of payment and pay only 27¢ per article.

For unlimited access to the best local, national, and international news and much more, try an All Access Digital subscription:

Thank you for supporting the journalism that our community needs!

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Mon to Sat Delivery

Pay

$34.36

per month

  • Includes all benefits of All Access Digital
  • 6-day delivery of our award-winning newspaper
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 21/5/2009 (3470 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

WINNIPEG — After years of sniping from left-wing critics that it has done too little to fight poverty, the Doer government fired back Thursday with a new "comprehensive" strategy that brought kudos from social agencies and business leaders alike.

The province announced it has earmarked $212 million in new funding this year for bricks-and-mortar projects, as well as programming for low-income Manitobans.

 Panhandler Joseph Nicholas: ‘It isn’t fair.’

WAYNE.GLOWACKI@FREEPRESS.MB.CA

Panhandler Joseph Nicholas: ‘It isn’t fair.’

It also signalled a change in how it deals with people with mental-health issues and addictions, placing greater emphasis on housing. The "housing first" approach means the government will try to put a roof over a person's head before offering other supports.

"We understand that on a cold night in Manitoba, 550 people will rely on emergency shelters. That's a disgrace. That's unworthy of this great province and we have to do better," Family Services and Housing Minister Gord Mackintosh told a press conference Thursday.

He said there are some 124,000 low-income people in the province, while 40 per cent of Manitobans "are telling us that they feel they are only one or two paycheques away from poverty themselves."

Manitobans can expect a flurry of government announcements in the next several months on housing, jobs and income support, healthy living, child care and improved ways of accessing benefits and services as a result of the new strategy. Some will involve new programs while others will be expansions of current initiatives.

Finance Minister Greg Selinger, who attended the press conference along with Healthy Living Minister Kerri Irvin-Ross and several backbench NDP MLAs, vowed the government will develop measuring sticks so it can tell whether its new programs are working.

Mackintosh said Manitoba is the first province in Western Canada to introduce such a comprehensive poverty-reduction strategy.

But the Manitoba director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives noted several provinces in Eastern Canada have already rolled out their own programs.

Shauna MacKinnon said although the Doer government has made strides in fighting poverty since coming to power in 1999, it has not done as much as many in the left had hoped.

"We feel that it's not been top of the agenda," she said, adding she is pleased the province has now adopted a more comprehensive plan.

Representatives of several agencies who attended the provincial government's announcement at the Crossways in Common (Young United Church) said they liked what they heard on Thursday.

Brian Bechtel, executive director of Main Street Project Inc., said the government's "housing first" model represents a "huge philosophical change" in approach and is "in keeping with what is really cutting-edge thinking in North America."

He said every jurisdiction that has gone this route has saved on fire, police, ambulance and health-care costs while giving people better lives.

"Dealing with an addiction is a hard thing to do at the best of times. Trying to do it while living on the street is all but impossible," Bechtel said.

Every month, Samir Butt is forced to decide how much of his meagre provincial disability benefits to spend on housing or food.

However, he and hundreds of other Manitobans with mental-health issues are in line for some relief after the provincial government announced a program where 600 people will get a rent subsidy of up to $200 more per month.

"This sure would help," Butt said on Thursday.

"I haven't had new clothes for years. I go to the thrift store. I have no savings in the bank and I have no money for school. I have no money for anything.

"We really need this. Right now, I'm just barely surviving."

Mackintosh and Irvin-Ross announced the portable-housing benefit as part of an overall strategy to help the homeless and people with mental-health challenges.

The benefit, announced as a pilot project in last year's budget, will also see housing supports by eight workers in communities across the province. Butt said he currently receives $770 a month from the province and from that he spends $479 for a small one-bedroom apartment. That leaves him with $291.

"That has to pay for everything from food to cable to the phone, clothing and medications, except for antidepressants. It doesn't leave much to survive on."

Chris Summerville, executive director of the Manitoba Schizophrenia Society and chief executive officer of the Schizophrenia Society of Canada, said he's pleased with the announcement, but added more has to be done to fully meet the mental-health needs in Manitoba.

"The goal should be to apply it to everyone. Eventually, it should be applied to all people with mental-health issues."

larry.kusch@freepress.mb.ca kevin.rollason@freepress.mb.ca

 

 

Giving Manitoba's poor

a better place to live

THE first concrete initiatives from the province's new anti-poverty strategy revolve around housing.

Up to 2,000 people are to benefit from 285 more "mental-health housing units." They will include options ranging from independent living with supports to 24-hour supportive-housing units. Included are 40 units in downtown Winnipeg, with supports, for people who are chronically homeless.

Six hundred low-income Manitobans with mental challenges and an unstable housing situation will receive a rent subsidy of up to $200 a month to access a broader range of private housing. Support workers will be available to help them.

Manitoba Housing's Community Wellness Initiative will be expanded to 14 sites from the current five. Some 760 tenants will receive enhanced services with the addition of 11 housing and mental-health support workers.

The province is adding 100 emergency homeless shelter beds and introducing new emergency homeless shelter standards. The guidelines are to ensure quality, consistent and safe services are provided at Manitoba's five emergency shelters.

A new cold-weather shelter protocol to serve an additional 80 people.

The province will hold a homeless prevention summit this fall.

Larry Kusch

Larry Kusch
Legislature Reporter

Larry Kusch didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life until he attended a high school newspaper editor’s workshop in Regina in the summer of 1969 and listened to a university student speak glowingly about the journalism program at Carleton University in Ottawa.

Read full biography

Kevin Rollason

Kevin Rollason
Reporter

Kevin Rollason is one of the more versatile reporters at the Winnipeg Free Press. Whether it is covering city hall, the law courts, or general reporting, Rollason can be counted on to not only answer the 5 Ws — Who, What, When, Where and Why — but to do it in an interesting and accessible way for readers.

Read full biography

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

You can comment on most stories on The Winnipeg Free Press website. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective January 2015.

Advertisement

Advertise With Us