Kíkinanaw Óma – A Strategy to Support Unsheltered Winnipeggers was created in collaboration with a group facilitated by End Homelessness Winnipeg. The Strategy group includes representation from the City of Winnipeg, first responders, outreach workers, homeless-serving agencies and people with lived experience of homelessness. The name Kíkinanaw Óma can be translated as “This is our Home Here” from Cree. Elder Belinda Vandenbroeck gifted this name to the Strategy.
The Strategy was released in June 2020, offering context on unsheltered homelessness and encampments in Winnipeg and providing an overview of the work of the Kíkinanaw Óma Strategy group over the previous year. This work involved development of an Interim Strategy that makes trained peer and outreach workers, rather than police, the first point of contact for people experiencing unsheltered homelessness. The Strategy group also released a Media Toolkit for Reporting on Homelessness and a Guide for Winnipeg residents on What to Do if encountering someone experiencing unsheltered homelessness.
Since the release of the Strategy, rapid progress has been made on some of its six recommendations, while barriers have emerged to the implementation of others. The COVID-19 pandemic increased urgency for addressing unsheltered homelessness, building broad awareness that housing is health care. However, COVID-19 also increased the visibility of unsheltered homelessness in Winnipeg. Outreach services expanded and work in ever-closer collaboration, supported by strong relationships with first responders when emergencies arise. New and expanded Safe Spaces emerged, and several new housing initiatives began to address key gaps in Winnipeg’s housing continuum that contribute to unsheltered homelessness. Yet need may be outpacing the construction of these developments, while rising housing costs continue to keep safe homes out of reach for many.
The one-year anniversary of Kíkinanaw Óma in 2021 offered an opportunity to reflect on progress and reaffirm next steps toward ending unsheltered homelessness in Winnipeg. A 1-Year Report to the community was launched in July 2021. A virtual community event was held to discuss the report and progress on key recommendations of the Strategy on Wednesday, July 7, 2021. You can watch a video from that event here. Also in July 2021, the City of Winnipeg formalized its role in the Interim Strategy through the Encampment Support Process outlined on the city’s website.
- 2021 Presentation on Kíkinanaw Óma for the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness National Conference (YouTube)
- 2021 Kíkinanaw Óma Unsheltered Strategy 1-Year Report (.pdf)
- 2021 Guide – What to Do if encountering someone who may be experiencing unsheltered Homelessness (.pdf)
- The Guide is also available in .png format
- The Guide is also available in .pdf format on a white background
- 2021 Media Toolkit for Reporting on Homelessness (.pdf)
- 2020 Kíkinanaw Óma – A Strategy to Support Unsheltered Winnipeggers (.pdf)