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Governments Provide Over $2.6 Million to Help Winnipeg's Homeless

WINNIPEG, Manitoba, September 24, 2004 — Seven local organizations will receive over $2.6 million to provide affordable transitional housing for refugees and new immigrants to Winnipeg, as well as improve facilities and expand services for youth, individuals and families who are homeless or at risk of being homeless. The projects are being made possible with funding support from the Government of Canada, the Province of Manitoba and the City of Winnipeg through the Winnipeg Housing and Homelessness Initiative (WHHI).

Funding for the projects is being provided under the Government of Canada's National Homelessness Initiative (NHI), the Canada-Manitoba Affordable Housing Initiative (AHI) and the WHHI. The funding will help the seven organizations provide essential services to people who need them. The attached backgrounder lists the approved projects. Today's funding announcement was made at the site of Welcome Place's Transitional Housing project, at 404 Qu'Appelle Avenue, in downtown Winnipeg. The Honourable Joe Fontana, Minister of Labour and Housing; the Honourable Christine Melnick, Manitoba Minister of Family Services and Housing; and Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz, participated in today's ceremonies.

"These projects demonstrate another coordinated effort between government and the community to address housing and homelessness issues in Winnipeg," said Minister Fontana. "Through the National Homelessness Initiative and the Canada-Manitoba Affordable Housing Initiative, the Government of Canada is working alongside the community and private sector partners to provide our most vulnerable citizens with safe, affordable accommodations."

"For many people, having access to affordable and adequate housing is a priority, but this is especially important to refugees and other newcomers to our province," said Minister Melnick. "We are pleased to join with our community partners in supporting adults, youth and children in need, while assisting them to achieve greater self-sufficiency and independence."

"This project is another great example of how government and the community can come together to make a significant difference in our City," said Mayor Sam Katz. "Welcome Place will be a safe haven for refugees and new immigrants to Winnipeg, and is a very proactive step in addressing homelessness in Winnipeg."

The funding, through the WHHI, is helping organizations to build new facilities or renovate existing buildings, provide more transitional housing, as well as expand programs and services for those at risk of being homeless.

The Government of Canada launched the NHI in December 1999 to support communities' efforts to alleviate homelessness. Between 1999 and 2006, $1.15 billion will have been spent as part of the federal government's commitment to addressing homelessness in Canada. In Manitoba alone, over 100 projects, representing an investment of $26.6 million, have been either developed or approved to proceed.

The AHI was signed in September 2002 and provides $50.8 million over the life of the agreement to help increase the supply of affordable rental units and new housing available in the province. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, on behalf of the Government of Canada, has contributed $25.4 million, which is matched by the Province of Manitoba. It is anticipated the AHI will create 2,500 units for low to moderate income Manitobans.

The funding for these projects is being coordinated through the WHHI, a partnership established by the Government of Canada, the Province of Manitoba and the City of Winnipeg to address homelessness, declining housing stock and the revitalization of Winnipeg's older neighbourhoods. Located at 361 Hargrave Street, the WHHI serves as a single-window office for community organizations to access information on government-funded housing and homelessness programs. Community groups wanting more information on programs can call the WHHI at (204) 940-3070.

For more information, contact:

Brian Williamson
Winnipeg Housing and Homelessness Initiative (WHHI)
(204) 984-0592
cell: 771-6438

Peter Graham
Director of Communications
Minister Fontana's Office
(819) 953-5646

Backgrounder

Funding for the project below is provided under the Government of Canada's National Homelessness Initiative (NHI) and the Canada-Manitoba Affordable Housing Initiative (AHI).

Funding for the following projects is provided under the Government of Canada's NHI: