“There’s more to it than just providing an affordable place to live. If you take away the consistency that Manitoba Housing provides by offering these other supports, people may no longer have what they need to get by." — Michelle Gawronsky, MGEU President
Winnipeg (29 April 2019) — The Manitoba Government is sending 1,000 more affordable housing units from Manitoba Housing to community-based organizations over the next year, according to a story published yesterday by CBC News.
Austerity agenda removes government responsibility for affordable housing
Just last month, the government announced it was transferring 567 units to two community groups (the Winnipeg Housing Rehabilitation Corporation and Bethania Group). With over 1,500 units now leaving Manitoba Housing, social housing advocates, tenants, and employees are wondering what the future holds for those who rely on Manitoba Housing and the services it provides.
The Pallister government cut Manitoba Housing’s repair and maintenance budget for the year by almost $3 million. Michelle Gawronsky, President of the Manitoba Government and General Employees' Union (MGEU/NUPGE), is worried that the government’s next step will be to sell off more buildings to the private sector, like it did last year with the building at 185 Smith Street in Winnipeg.
Gawronsky also fears that the government's dangerous austerity agenda will make it even harder for those who depend on the additional services provided by the provincial agency.
Food services, health, financial and employment programs at risk due to move
“Our members at Manitoba Housing give families access to a wide range of supports. There’s more to it than just providing an affordable place to live. If you take away the consistency that Manitoba Housing provides by offering these other supports, people may no longer have what they need to get by,” she said.
Manitoba Housing provides families and seniors with vital supports such as food services, which ensure tenants in some buildings receive at least one healthy meal a day. Tenant Services Coordinators also assist and promote independent living in the community as long as possible by providing access to a wide range of programs, including health, financial, and employment programs.
The MGEU/NUPGE represents 340 Manitoba Housing members across the province.