Thinking Inside the Box: Rediscovering How to Build Social Housing in Manitoba

Despite years of advocacy by Manitoba’s Right to Housing Coalition urging government to increase the supply of social housing, politicians seem convinced that the social housing crisis is an unsolvable problem that can only be tinkered with using private-sector participation, whether it be to construct new units or maintain and operate existing units. But the private sector itself acknowledges deeply affordable housing is a public good that it cannot provide. It is as though a sort of collective amnesia prevents government from tackling the social housing shortage with the same financing tools it successfully used in the past, or from considering reasonable options that are ripe for the taking.

A new paper by Manitoba researcher Lynne Fernandez explains how the provincial government could relearn the strategies it has successfully used, and still has at hand, to increase the supply of social housing and repair and maintain existing stock. The author reviewed details with local experts in public housing and the non-profit sector to confirm how to best apply some of these strategies in the Manitoba context. The paper also includes a review of successful strategies being used in Canada and other countries.

The paper is published by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives–Manitoba and can be found here. A summary can be found here.