Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 27/9/2011 (2155 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A local advocate for immigrants wants candidates in the upcoming provincial election to pay attention to the needs of thousands of newcomers settling in St. Vital every year.
"Most newcomers find work in the beginning and find a place to live they’re happy with and their children go to school and fit in," said Audrey Owens, program manager of the St. Vital-based VM EAL program, which helps newcomers learn English.
"However this is not true of every family, some struggle," said Owens, who has been working to help immigrants settle in St. Vital for 15 years.
Owens said newcomers can struggle if they take longer to learn English, which makes it difficult to find jobs.
They may also struggle with finding affordable housing, she said.
According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s most recent numbers from April, the neighbourhood’s vacancy rate was 0.7%.
"Morrow Avenue, Bonita Avenue, and Beliveau Road are always full," said Owens.
Mike Brown, the Progressive Conservative candidate for the St. Vital riding, acknowledged affordable housing is "always an issue."
"We can’t invite immigrants without housing being available," said Brown, who noted there will be more housing available when a Manitoba Housing complex currently vacated for repairs reopens.
Brown said programming for immigrants also needs to be examined.
"If we are successful in forming government we will be listening to the experts in all fields, including those related to immigration," he said.
"If we find the services wanting we will ensure those services required by new Canadians are adequate to ensure they make a successful transition to life in Manitoba."
Manitoba Liberal Party candidate Harry Wolbert said he heard from people living in Manitoba Housing on Marlene Street that workers were given three minutes to spray each unit for bed bugs, which he said is not enough time.
To prevent future incidents like this, Wolbert said he would like to see Manitoba Housing turned into co-operative housing where people would collectively own the complex and would have "ownership of day-to-day activities and (a) say in how the complex is run."
Wolbert also said he wants "more money to go towards after school programs and programs run by the community centres to keep kids off the streets."
NDP incumbent Nancy Allan said affordable housing will come to St. Vital through a pledge made in March by the NDP provincial government to build 707 affordable housing units over the next two years in Winnipeg.
Allan said she plans to continue to support programs run through the Salvation Army’s newly-renovated Multicultural Family Centre on Morrow Avenue, which was partly funded by the provincial NDP government, and the Victor Mager Job Re-Entry Program, which provides employment training, academic upgrading and life skills.
People can "get stabilized and get settled into the community," and "learn about life in Manitoba and get job placements," Allan said, referring to the Multicultural Family Centre.
Voters across Manitoba will head to the polls on Oct. 4.