Show your support for affordable housing


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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 24/02/2021 (828 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

It was reassuring to read Cindy Gilroy’s column (“Putting a focus on affordable housing needs,” The Metro, Jan. 20) issue of in which she stated that the City of Winnipeg had made a $2 million investment in affordable housing from the federal Safe Restart funds.

Gilroy went on to say that she is committed to working with City Hall to develop a housing plan that addresses a growing gap in affordable housing.

Having recently reconnected with the Right to Housing Coalition – an organization that advocates for affordable housing for low-income people in our city and province – I became aware that, while the investment was welcome news, it doesn’t begin to solve the problem of inadequate affordable housing.

According to Right to Housing, there are over 9,000 households on the wait list for public housing in Manitoba. On any given night there are 1,500 homeless people in Winnipeg. These numbers will grow if the province continues to sell public housing.

Governments need to invest in a strong public housing system that meets the needs of low-income Manitobans. Yet the Manitoba government has begun to sell Manitoba Housing units and is planning to proceed with more sales.

The coalition has launched a Keep Public Housing Public campaign to put a stop to this plan. The purpose of the campaign is to build awareness of the shortage of public housing, as well as the need to retain existing housing and increase units for future use.

You can show your support for the Right to Housing’s Keep Public Housing Public Campaign by visiting

As the coalition’s campaign points out, the pandemic is hitting low-income renters hard. The working poor have had their hours cut or lost their jobs. The federal CERB program has ended, as has the provincial eviction ban. With no public housing to turn to, the homeless population will increase.

It’s not a big leap from being unable to afford your rent to the possibility of becoming homeless. With temperatures that drop to -30 C and lower, there’s probably nowhere on the planet where it’s more important to have a home. Shelters offer a respite from the cold but they are a temporary measure.    And the pandemic has made the sheltering of those in need even more challenging.  

Access to affordable housing requires a well-maintained supply of public housing. While the city isn’t a direct provider of housing in Manitoba, Gilroy said the city recognizes that all governments must work together on the affordable housing front.

She added that city council has approved $12.5 million from the federal rapid housing initiative to help those experiencing homelessness, with the funds being used to create 88 new housing units.

The question is: When will these units be available?

Donna Minkus is a community correspondent for Charleswood.

Donna Minkus

Donna Minkus
Charleswood community correspondent

Donna Minkus is a community correspondent for Charleswood.

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