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On Wednesday, October 20, the Executive Policy Committee of Winnipeg City Council will be considering the City’s first Poverty Reduction Strategy. The final draft of the document will be made public Oct 15th and Right to Housing will share it out, along with our thoughts. But in the meantime, here is what you need to know:

We need our City Council to pass, and then push to implement a bold and effective Poverty Reduction Strategy. This strategy will go nowhere without the resources and staffing required to implement it and no progress can be measured without the inclusion of targets and timelines.

Strategy creation

Since 2018, Winnipeg’s Poverty Reduction Strategy has been in development. Community members and housing experts, including Right to Housing, have given input into what needs to be done to reduce and eventually eliminate poverty in our city. Housing has been identified by the City as one of two foundational pillars in the elimination of poverty, and housing as a critical need was affirmed throughout the community engagement process. 

The need for Housing in Winnipeg

City Council’s own Housing Needs Assessment, reports over 1,500 people without homes in our city and at least 34,625 households in core housing need – living in housing that is unaffordable, overcrowded, unsafe or in serious disrepair, and are unable to find suitable homes they can afford. 

The City of Winnipeg – A housing department of one

Despite the growing crisis, the City of Winnipeg has one of the smallest housing departments of all major Canadian cities relative to its population, with just one full-time staff dedicated to supporting the development of new rental housing. Edmonton has 20 staff, Hamilton has 9 staff, and Regina has twice as many staff as Winnipeg despite being one-quarter the size. 

A Strategy that will make a difference

An effective strategy to reduce poverty must include targets and the resources necessary to achieve them. To end housing need in Winnipeg, the Poverty Reduction Strategy must:

  • Staff a Housing Office

Fund at least 7 full-time staff (one per 100,000 residents, bringing Winnipeg staffing levels in line with comparable Canadian cities) to develop and implement the tools identified by the Housing Needs Assessment, facilitate the creation of new housing, and related programs to reach the following targets:

  • End homelessness in ten years

Produce at least 150 units of social or supportive housing annually for people experiencing homeless, using the tools identified by the Housing Needs Assessment, in partnership with other levels of government.

  • Eliminate Winnipeg’s core housing need 

In the next ten years, reduce the number of households in core housing need by 3,462 each year through the creation of new affordable and social housing, the provision of rent supports, and other programs in partnership with other levels of government.

The Poverty Reduction Strategy is an important step, however clear targets, along with the capacity to implement, need to be identified and included in the Strategy in order to hold the City accountable and measure outcomes. 

Call to Action – Help make this happen

You can join the Right to Housing Coalition in pressing our City Council to end housing need in Winnipeg…

First (but not last)

Share this post to your Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

Second (most important)

Contact your City Councillor and Mayor Bowman and ask them to pass the Poverty Reduction Strategy at EPC with the resources and staffing required to make it happen.

*Executive Policy Committee of City Council

Mayor Bowman and councillors, Allard, Browaty, Gillingham, Gilroy, Mayes and Rollins