End Homelessness Winnipeg, partnering organizations, honoured guests and community members gathered on Wednesday, February 20, 2019 at the Sinclair Park Community Centre for the launch of the 2018 Winnipeg Street Health Survey Report. The report shares findings on the self-reported health status, housing, and social service needs of individuals experiencing homelessness in Winnipeg.
“It is time for change,” said CEO Lucille Bruce at the event. “Winnipeg is a caring and compassionate community, with a 10-year plan to end homelessness. Collectively as a community working towards a common agenda, we can create meaningful transformation to our system of care for those experiencing or at risk of homelessness.”
Between July and October 2018, 406 individuals were interviewed for the survey. The survey report builds on the findings of previous studies (including the 2011 Winnipeg Street Health Survey, the 2014 At Home/Chez Soi Winnipeg Final report, and the 2015 and 2018 Winnipeg Street Census reports), demonstrating that the fundamental characteristics of the population of individuals experiencing homelessness in Winnipeg have not changed over the past decade. More than 70% of individuals surveyed are Indigenous, nearly half spent time in the care of CFS and almost two-thirds self-reported a mental health diagnosis. Study participants also self-reported high rates of physical health diagnoses, substance use, injury and frequent physical pain. Individuals experiencing homelessness in Winnipeg are also accessing a wide range of healthcare services and locations for their health needs. Partnerships between systems including health, justice, housing and social services are critical to support the health and wellbeing of those experiencing or at risk of homelessness.
Based on the data gathered in the 2018 Winnipeg Street Health Survey, authors of the report recommend applying an Indigenous cultural lens to program and policy developments that enhance homelessness prevention measures, tailor supports to the individual needs of those experiencing homelessness, evaluate gaps and best practices in service delivery, and integrate systems for a coordinated approach to service access and homelessness prevention. The survey and report were completed thanks to the collective efforts of many local organizations working in partnership to provide advice and expertise on the research process. This project was coordinated by End Homelessness Winnipeg, the backbone organization implementing the 10-year Plan to End Homelessness in Winnipeg.