Manitoba political parties respond to Right to Housing election campaign asks!

The Right to Housing coalition sent a questionnaire to political parties running in the 2023 Manitoba election asking them to commit to implementing the 5 pillars of its social housing action plan for Manitoba. Here is a summary of the responses:

Green Party 
The Green Party said they “support all 5 of (the) action pillars as being desperately needed by Manitobans, especially racialized Manitobans” and they “will ensure they are a key part of (their) Housing Policy”. The party provided no further details.

Liberal Party
The Liberal Party addressed Pillar 1 by committing to create10,000 housing units in the next ten years, working with all levels of government, Manitoba Housing, private landlords, and other organizations. Their plan includes working with the private sector to deliver units in a timely manner. The Right to Housing coalition has called for 10,000 new rent-geared-to-income (RGI) units to be developed through public, non-profit, co-op, and Indigenous-led housing providers. It’s not clear how many of the Liberal’s promised units will be dedicated to non-market housing vs private market housing. It’s also not clear how many will be at RGI rent levels.

The Liberal party acknowledged the need to provide supports to assess and treat the reasons people are homeless but did not make any specific commitments around expanding the pool of support workers available to social housing tenants as called for in Pillar 3.

The party addressed Pillar 4 with a commitment to reform the Residential Tenancies Branch to protect tenants, seniors, and vulnerable people from unreasonable evictions and out-of-control rent hikes. The party did not address Pillars 2 and 5.

New Democratic Party (NDP)
The NDP said they will invest millions to create significantly more rent-geared-to-income units across Manitoba in partnership with the federal government, Indigenous governments, as well as municipalities across the province. But it did not commit to a specific target for the number of new units as called for in Pillar 1.

The party addressed Pillar 2, which is focused on protecting the existing social housing stock, by promising legislation to protect non-profit housing from being sold. It also committed to investments in the maintenance of housing, but did not specifically commit to spending the $1.5 billion needed to bring existing buildings up to standard. The party acknowledged the need for a plan to support social housing whose operating agreements are expiring, but didn’t make any specific promises on how it would do this.

The NDP addressed Pillar 3 by committing to hire 100 more mental health workers to improve access to mental health and social services, and by promising to invest in staffing, supports, and programming within social housing.
The party addressed Pillar 4 by promising legislation that would prevent landlords from applying for unnecessary and large rent increases and passing along increases that have not been approved by the Residential Tenancies Branch. Their plan would also prevent landlords from revoking or reducing rent discounts within the first year an above-guideline increase is implemented.

Finally, the NDP promised to expand and support partnerships with social enterprises across the province to provide people with training and employment in the construction and maintenance of social housing, as called for in Pillar5.

Progressive Conservative Party 
The PCs did not respond to the questionnaire.