Thompson and nine other Manitoba municipalities are receiving a total of $12 million in grant funding from the provincial government to create affordable housing options for vulnerable people.
Flin Flon, The Pas, Dauphin, Brandon, Morden, Portage la Prairie, Selkirk, Steinbach and Winkler are the other communities receiving the funding, which the province says they can use to determine how to best address their objectives for housing affordability and development and to leverage additional funding from other sources.
The funding comes on the heels of the federal government’s recently announced rapid housing initiative for Winnipeg and First Nations reserves and is intended to benefit groups more likely to experience barriers to obtaining stable housing, including Indigenous people, single parents, new Canadians, refugees, youth, seniors and people with physical and mental disabilities.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has affected all of us in one way or another and vulnerable Manitobans, including lower-income families, have been hit particularly hard,” said Families Minister Rochelle Squires in a press release. “This funding will enable and empower our municipal partners to help those who face barriers to housing in their communities, by supporting the creation of affordable housing and home ownership opportunities that will protect more families for years to come.”
Thompson NDP MLA and housing critic Danielle Adams said the province should be building affordable housing and doing more to address homelessness.
"Manitobans want real solutions to the homelessness crisis,” Adams said in an emailed statement. “This announcement may help some, but it seems like another PC program designed to be unsubscribed—meaning it will be announced with fanfare, but the dollars won’t actually go out the door to help people. Long-term solutions to the challenges facing people without shelter means addressing addictions, mental health issues and the continuing issues in the CFS system. The province should use a housing first approach which would see them building social housing units as a first step toward addressing those other challenges."