COVID-19 Update #5

The COVID-19 Response, facilitated by End Homelessness Winnipeg, is engaging more than five dozen local and regional agencies, including community organizations, emergency shelters, the WRHA, Public Health, Manitoba Housing and the City of Winnipeg. The COVID-19 Response is identifying priorities for the health and safety of those experiencing or at risk of homelessness in our city.

Progress on the COVID-19 Response

Thanks to the dedication and initiative of all COVID-19 Response partners, as well as the Government of Canada’s Reaching Home homelessness strategy, other levels of government including Indigenous governments, and philanthropic partners like the United Way Winnipeg and Winnipeg Foundation, the COVID-19 Response has made rapid progress.

Adult emergency shelters are opening additional space to accommodate physical distancing. Domestic violence shelters are coordinating to share capacity across the province. Sscope and Rossbrook House, not normally open 24/7, have begun operating around the clock. Last week, Main Street Project and the WRHA opened a supportive, low-barrier isolation facility for individuals in need who have been tested for COVID-19. Street Outreach teams are collaborating to provide 24/7 coverage across the city. A community testing site will soon be opening at Thunderbird House; and Salvation Army is providing daily transportation to and from COVID-19 testing for screened individuals experiencing homelessness.

Next Steps

Over the coming week, End Homelessness Winnipeg, with guidance from the Community Advisory Board for Reaching Home, will be allocating $2.9 million to further priorities identified by our community’s COVID-19 Response, in line with the Reaching Home directives for COVID-19.

At this time, some of the greatest challenges are access to health supplies like personal protective equipment, sanitizer, and cleansers; access to hygiene facilities like washrooms and hand washing for individuals experiencing homelessness; and access to safe spaces, such as individual units where people can follow “stay at home” public health orders and have a pathway to longer-term housing.  End Homelessness Winnipeg looks forward to further collaboration with community, government, philanthropic and private sector partners on these urgent needs.

End Homelessness Winnipeg’s offices remain closed, with staff working remotely. For more information, email [email protected] or visit End Homelessness Winnipeg on Facebook and Twitter.  Maarsii, Miigwetch and thank you for your efforts and patience at this time. Together, we are flattening the curve to protect our neighbours and relatives.