Caring for Winnipeg’s unsheltered community
Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 05/05/2021 (755 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
For many months now, I have been working with the city’s public service to identify solutions to a crisis that was previously considered exclusively a downtown problem. One look around the city will reinforce that this is a city-wide issue.
Homelessness, poverty, mental health, and addiction struggles have existed in our community for many years. People have sought temporary shelter in parks like George Olive (855 McMeans Ave.), along Reenders Avenue and more recently in enclosed Transit shelters. The people in these situations are regularly relocated once connected to supports through outreach programming like St. Boniface Street Links (SBSL) and Main Street Project (MSP), to name but a few.
COVID-19 created a more visible challenge in our community,over the winter months. People were housed overnight at facilities like MSP, but resources available to them during the daytime hours are scarce. In recent months, these residents have relocated outside the downtown area, primarily during the daytime hours, returning to facilities like MSP for a few hours of sleep or reprieve from being outside.
Rapid, regular movement throughout the city is not a solution for the unsheltered community. I have been seeking strategies to address the broader issues of poverty but this is an issue that falls to many levels of government and requires the collaboration of many partners.
I’ve reached out to multiple provincial ministers’ offices to express the need for collaboration. There has been little uptake on creating a cross-governmental approach to address the issues that so desperately need to be addressed. At the time of this submission, I have reached out to my local colleagues James Teitsma, Nello Altomare and Daniel Blaikie to work together on this, and I have also reached out to the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs to begin to work as partners on this matter.
There is no quick fix. Many members of our community have complex needs in many areas, including mental health, physical trauma and addictions.
We need to work together to improve the community for all members. I hope you will join me in calling for greater involvement of all levels of government, and our partners, to address this matter.
Should you want to discuss this or other items of concern please call me at 204-986-8087 or email email@example.com
Transcona ward report
Shawn Nason is the city councillor for Transcona ward.