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This article was published 30/4/2019 (271 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
City hall is developing a strategy to reduce poverty in Winnipeg.
Mayor Brian Bowman and members of his executive policy committee directed the administration Tuesday to develop a City of Winnipeg "poverty reduction strategy" and an implementation plan within 365 days.
Bowman later told reporters while poverty reduction is technically not within city hall’s jurisdiction, it can contribute.
"Is there a role for us to play? Yes. Is there a way for us to be mindful how we implement some of our current programs and initiatives in a way that complements an overall poverty reduction plan and the efforts of the provincial and federal governments? That’s what we’re really looking for," Bowman said.
"We are mindful of what our are core responsibilities but also what are we currently doing, and can we do it smarter in a way that achieves the objectives that we all, as a community, desire."
The call for a poverty reduction strategy was prompted by a administrative review of current measures undertaken by city hall and a short list of additional steps outlined by the administration that could be taken.
Included among the proposed initiatives are suggestions to enhance job opportunities for Indigenous people, and adoption of inclusionary zoning to support development of affordable housing.
However, Bowman said he isn’t prepared to support what’s been proposed until he sees that it can be achieved within existing budgets.
"The challenge is… we don’t have additional monies to be putting forward for some of these poverty reduction initiatives," Bowman said. "I want to see the implementation plan further developed before we set ourselves onto specific courses."
EPC directed the poverty reduction strategy to be developed by the city’s housing policy co-ordinator, a position that is currently vacant. A civic spokesman said a job description is being finalized for posting, which is expected to occur "in the near future."
Bowman said he’s leaving for Vancouver on Wednesday to participate in a Federation of Canadian Municipalities event focusing on exploring affordable housing options.
"Regardless of the government involved, there really is a lot of people living in poverty in our community and it really should compel us all to try to work collaboratively to reduce those numbers."
Aldo Santin is a veteran newspaper reporter who first carried a pen and notepad in 1978 and joined the Winnipeg Free Press in 1986, where he has covered a variety of beats and specialty areas including education, aboriginal issues, urban and downtown development. Santin has been covering city hall since 2013.