Lions Place sale should be paused
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This article was published 02/11/2022 (212 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
There is a severe shortage of genuinely affordable housing in our city, particularly for seniors. That’s why, along with Uzoma Asagwara, MLA for Union Station, I am calling for the sale of Lions Place to be put on hold until a new non-profit buyer can be found.
Lions Place is a non-profit seniors’ housing complex with 287 affordable housing units in the downtown area. For its many residents, Lions Place is more than just a roof over their heads, it is a thriving community featuring a garden, a library run by volunteers, art classes and more.
I have met with residents who are deeply concerned that if the building is sold to a for-profit buyer, it could result in people being priced out of their homes. This very situation happened recently when a Manitoba Housing complex at 185 Smith St. was sold by the province. What was previously 200 units of affordable housing for low-income seniors has been turned into high-end lofts that rent for $2,000 a month.
We can’t afford to lose any more much-needed affordable seniors’ housing in downtown Winnipeg. That’s why MLA Asagwara and I are calling on the provincial and federal governments to step in and ensure no residents will lose their homes.
Seniors built this country. They deserve to age with dignity and security in their home community. I will continue to work with local elected officials and the residents of Lions Place to ensure that affordable seniors’ housing is preserved in Winnipeg Centre.
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In a column last May, I wrote about the desperate need in our community for a 24/7, low-barrier safe space for women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people. That month alone, five Indigenous women lost their lives in Winnipeg due to violence and failing systems.
Alongside local leaders and organizations, we urged the federal government to provide Ka Ni Kanichihk with the funding it needs to operate Velma’s House as a 24/7 safe space in a new building better suited for this purpose. I’m delighted to share that these efforts were successful, and Velma’s House will receive over $6.9 million in federal funding, including $1 million per year over four years to support programming. This will allow Velma’s House to move to a new, expanded space at 566 Bannatyne Ave., where extensive programming and culturally appropriate support to women and gender diverse people will be provided.
I want to extend an enormous thank you to everyone who raised their voices and convinced the federal government to invest in this critically important project. This shows the power of our community and it will save lives.
Winnipeg Centre constituency report
Leah Gazan is the NDP Member of Parliament for Winnipeg Centre.