In what the Prime Minister says it is “a start” to helping Manitoban’s most needy.
The facility at Disraeli Fwy. 190 was born of necessity and is a step forward as the province recognizes the need for more indigenous-run, accessible support spaces to support the people, said Prime Minister Heather Stefanson when announcing the initiative on Friday morning.
“This is a critical time in our province’s history to listen, heal, and bring Manitobans together to build a healthier, stronger future for all Manitobans, especially those most in need,” said Stefanson.
“We heard from you and will take action.”
The prime minister said the $ 1.5 million was “a start” but made no commitment to long-term funding.
“We’ll see,” she said. “And as always, if there is more need, we’ll take a look.”
Stefanson made the announcement locally with Family Secretary Rochelle Squires, Grand Chief of the Congregation of Manitoba Chiefs Arlen Dumas, and End Homelessness Winnipeg CEO Jason Whitford. Two tipis and a holy fire were set up in front of the building and tobacco was shared.
Whitford, who worked for AMC for many years, pointed to the complex roots of homelessness and said the organization has found that about half of Winnipeggers currently homeless are in the child welfare system.
“It’s a sad state of affairs,” he said. “This initiative was born out of necessity. There is still a lot to be done in this area. There is a lot of innovative work that we can do.”
Squires, who was asked about safe injection sites and what the government is doing to combat addiction, said she knew housing and addiction are complex issues that need to be addressed. And she stressed the disproportionate impact on indigenous peoples.
“We must work and work together to end homelessness among all Manitobans (and especially indigenous peoples across the province),” she said.