As the Province of Manitoba has announced plans for reopening the economy and lifting some public health orders, End Homelessness Winnipeg is looking at next steps. We know the pandemic is not over, and that people experiencing homelessness are particularly at risk for an outbreak. Winnipeg’s COVID-19 Response for the homeless-serving sector, facilitated by End Homelessness Winnipeg, has engaged more than 60 local and regional agencies to rise to the urgent and emergent challenges facing our community during this transition to a “new normal.”
Next Steps and New Challenges
The greatest challenge ahead is the likelihood that hundreds of Manitobans could enter into homelessness in the coming weeks. More than 25,000 Manitobans lost their jobs in March; more than twice that number were already experiencing core housing need; plus there are the social challenges of stress, poor mental health, and confinement leading to family and relationship breakdown in the home. To address these concerns, it is vital to work collaboratively across sectors. We need to support families impacted by domestic and intergenerational violence; provide employment and training options for adults and youth; and ensure access to safe, stable housing that allows people to physically distance and self-isolate as needed.
End Homelessness Winnipeg has partnered with the Manitoba Association of Women’s Shelters and HelpSeeker to map services across the province, so that those experiencing and at risk of homelessness or interpersonal violence can find the most relevant supports closest to them in real time. A new collaboration with local agencies and CAHRD aims to meet service providers’ staffing needs while increasing employment and training options for the community. End Homelessness Winnipeg is also working in partnership with our Housing Supply Action Committee, the Winnipeg Indigenous Executive Circle, the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs and others on supportive housing solutions.