Housing and homelessness

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Public housing plays an essential role in Manitoba’s housing system. It provides a specific form of housing: decommodified housing that is affordable to low-income households. This means that it has been removed from the market by focusing on its use as a home, rather than on its potential for financial gain, and has low rents. Across Canada, public housing has provided good quality, affordable housing for decades (Silver 2011).
Public housing plays an essential role in Manitoba’s housing system. It provides a specific form of housing: housing that has been removed from the market by focusing on its use as a home, rather than on its potential for financial gain, in order to make it affordable to low-income households. Across Canada, public housing has provided good quality, affordable housing for decades.
Consulting firm KPMG’s recommendations that Manitoba Housing units be sold and that the private sector play a greater role in providing housing for low-income people are profoundly mistaken. Far from being the solution to the problem of low-income housing, the private sector has most often been the problem. Equally problematic is KPMG’s recommendation that rents be raised for the lowest-income tenants, and that eligibility for the Rent Assist program that supports low-income renters be restricted, and that 42 positions at Manitoba Housing be cut.
Many Canadian cities are looking to regulate upstart online platform companies like Airbnb, which offer short-term rentals sometimes at the expense of long-term rental availability. The City of Toronto has weighed in with proposals to limit short-term rentals to primary residences, to charge short-term rental hosts and companies a fee, and more. Is Toronto going far enough? CCPA-Ontario Economist Zohra Jamasi surveys key North American cities’ attempt to regulate Airbnb and concludes Toronto could do more to protect the long-term rental stock.
Budget 2017 provides $150M less for the development and maintenance of social and affordable housing compared to last year’s budget. Groups like the Right to Housing Coalition are concerned that this will increase homelessness and perpetuate the poverty experienced by the thousands of Manitobans who cannot get ahead and enjoy a decent quality of life because they cannot access safe and affordable housing.
Manitobans should have access to housing but, at any given time, there are about 1,400 people experiencing homelessness in Winnipeg alone.  Many others live under threat of homelessness, paying the rent with money needed for food and other basic needs. Housing advocates call on the provincial government to remember these people when the budget is tabled Tuesday.
This winter, a 53 year-old woman died overnight in minus 32-degree temperatures, frozen to death on the streets of downtown Winnipeg. This tragic and preventable loss serves as a reminder of how Winnipeg is failing to support people who need it the most and that the homelessness crisis affects women. A new study released today renews calls to action to deal with this tremendously unjust situation.
This winter, a 53 year-old woman died overnight in minus 32-degree temperatures, frozen to death on the streets of downtown Winnipeg. This tragic and preventable loss serves as a reminder of how Winnipeg is failing to support people who need it the most and that the homelessness crisis affects women. This study renews calls to action to deal with this tremendously unjust situation—so that we need not have even another year of women’s homelessness in Winnipeg and Manitoba.
In this work we demonstrate the specific constellation of events, initiatives, and supports that contributed to housing refugees from Syria who arrived in Manitoba beginning in November 2015.  Relative to those of other recent refugee arrivals to Canada, the 'Syrian Case' has been unique, insofar as a considerable amount of national attention was devoted to the matter.  The arrival of Syrians has been politically polarizing--indeed it became a decisive issue duing the 2015 federal election in Canada and served as a touchstone for arguments for and against immigration to Canada, in general,
Cities and towns across the province are learning to work within their unique economic climates and available policy tools to deal with housing needs. That was evident following a panel discussion with Manitoba mayors as part of Building Partnerships 2016, the Manitoba Non-Profit Housing Association’s fourth annual conference in November.

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