Housing for Newcomers – Letter, November 1, 2010


There have been several articles in your newspaper recently reporting on the surge of immigrants to Manitoba. While this is welcome news to a province that struggles to increase its population, it raises the question, “Where are they all going to live?” As the politicians congratulate each other for their provincial nominee program, which brought in 12000 plus immigrants to Manitoba last year, one would wonder if they are equally enthusiastic about ensuring these new immigrants have a descent place to live when they arrive here. An article in the April 15th issue of your newspaper states that the Immigrant Centre is working to assist, offering languages, citizenship and nutrition classes, as well as referrals. No mention is made of housing.
It’s not news that there’s a dearth of affordable housing in Winnipeg. Right now, the vacancy rate of apartments hovers at .6 per cent. The majority of rental units that are available are in the $800 plus range well beyond the reach of minimum wage earners, many seniors and people on social assistance.
We are doing a disservice to the new Canadians coming to our province. Our priority should be ensuring there is sufficient affordable housing to accommodate the newcomers.

Clark Brownlee
Right to Housing Coalition