Lions Place up for sale; seniors concerned
Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 28/09/2022 (247 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Affordable and social housing is so important for seniors and residents of Union Station. We all see the costs of groceries and transportation going up and up. It’s simply getting unaffordable for so many to pay for necessities, including the cost of rent. That is why I was so concerned to hear that Lions Place, located at 610 Portage Ave., is being put up for sale.
For many decades, Lions Place has played a vital role in our community. It provides subsidized accommodation for seniors. Part of how Lions made this work was a federal-provincial financial agreement. Since this agreement expired in 2018, Lions Place has struggled. After calls from the opposition NDP and community groups in support of seniors, the Manitoba government put financial measures in place on an interim basis. This agreement was not as strong as the previous arrangement. Nonetheless, it did provide some relief. At the time, a Progressive Conservative government spokesperson said: “What we have… is a conscience and concern for low-income tenants.”
Sadly, that concern has not endured. The interim agreement has expired and Lions Place is searching for a new owner for the 287-unit apartment building. It is important that rents at Lions Place remain affordable, especially considering that the majority of its residents are seniors living on fixed incomes. Residents are rightly concerned that new ownership would mean an increase in rents. We are also concerned that, over the long term, units that come up may transition to higher rent and also no longer prioritize seniors.
Unfortunately, the PC government’s approach at Lions Place is being repeated all across Manitoba. Since this government came into office, it has sold 1,700 Manitoba Housing social-housing units, or nearly 10 per cent of the entire Manitoba Housing stock. Many of these units were sold to the private sector, where rents will no longer be subsidized. At the same time, demand for social and affordable housing is higher than ever. Manitoba Housing had a social housing waitlist of 5,904 as of February 2022.
Rather than selling off existing housing units, the province should instead increase the number of affordable and social housing units. It should also work with Lions Place ownership to ensure that rents remain affordable for seniors and residents. All Manitobans should have access to affordable, safe and dignified quality housing.
Please feel free to reach out to me by phone at 204-306-8581, email at email@example.com or my office at Unit 1, 331 Smith St.
Union Station constituency report
Uzoma Asagwara is the NDP MLA for Union Station.