Invest in Manitoba Housing and Shelter Supports to Reduce the Spread of COVID-19

April 9, 2020

Treaty 1 Territory, Winnipeg, MB—NDP MLA for Point Douglas, and Official Opposition critic for Mental Health and Addictions, Bernadette Smith is calling on the provincial government to increase emergency housing for low income Manitobans needing a place to self-isolate while awaiting test results. Smith called for quick repairs to empty social housing stock in order to house more families.

“We know that the province is planning to open up the building at 777 Sargent Avenue; however, we also know that shelters are being asked to house our homeless population that may be awaiting test results. Temporary housing organizations have asked the government to provide solutions that offer safe options for self-isolation over and above group living arrangements. We would all like to see the government enable preventative measures to protect the most vulnerable people, who are at high risk to contract and potentially spread COVID-19,” said Smith.

The Manitoba NDP has previously called on the province to increase supports for vulnerable families and those who work with them by boosting EIA and Disability rates, increasing RentAssist and ensuring front line organizations have access to PPE.

“All Manitobans deserve a safe place to call home. While the Government has taken some steps to help people, there remain many low-income Manitobans who do not have adequate space to self-isolate. The government also has a responsibility to do the repair work necessary to make vacant Manitoba Housing units available to those needing to self-isolate. Other provinces are using spaces like hotels and universities to house people—Manitoba can follow that example,” added Smith.

The Official Opposition remains committed to supporting the efforts of the government to fight COVID-19.