News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

December 11, 2020

Province Selects Spence Neighbourhood Association for 24-7 Drop-In Service

New Funding Will Expand Drop-In Capacity to 24 Hours a Day, Seven Days a Week to Help Protect Manitobans

The Manitoba government has selected the Spence Neighbourhood Association to create a community, 24-7 drop-in space, Health, Seniors and Active Living Minister Cameron Friesen and Justice Minister Cliff Cullen announced today. 
“By having drop-in space options 24 hours a day, seven days a week, those experiencing mental health issues or addiction will have access to resources and staff who create a safe, warm and welcoming space,” said Friesen. “Closing the gap and offering around the clock hours will decrease unnecessary emergency department visits and lead to better outcomes.”
Since 2016, the Spence Neighbourhood Association has been operating WE24, a community drop-in space, on Fridays, Saturdays and school holidays from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. With this new annual funding of $300,000, WE24 will now operate year-round. The province will provide an initial investment of $262,500 to launch the program. Drop-in programming will be offered and referrals provided when programming is not available.
“We know that asking police and emergency department providers to connect services to people with mental health and addiction challenges is not always the most effective way to provide support,” said Cullen. “The creation of this new drop-in service will allow these populations to be better supported and served by our community partnerships by the right people, at the right time.”
The welcoming space will ensure those with mental health and addiction issues can connect with resources and support workers. As part of the project, a subcontract with 1 Just City will allow the organization to extend its community drop-in hours at Just a Warm Sleep and increase operating hours for one of its drop-in lunch spaces. 
This announcement aligns with recommendations of the VIRGO report, which were to increase access for low-barrier, timely, accessible and welcoming mental health and addiction services.
“The Spence Neighbourhood Association has been offering a safe space for youth and young adults for many years, and the ability to operate daily will provide a consistent option for support, particularly overnight when there are limited options available,” said Sharon Kuropatwa, regional director housing, supports and service integration, Winnipeg Regional Health Authority.Additional community drop-in hours will be subcontracted to 1 Just City at its pop-up warming centre. Its hours will expand to 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. from 9 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. in January to March 2021 and November 2021 to March 2022. An expansion of its weekday drop-in lunch programs will now include weekend lunches from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at one of its three locations – West Broadway Community Services, St. Matthews Maryland Community Ministry or Oak Table Inc.
"The Spence Neighbourhood Association is honoured to receive this support and so thankful to our community partners for working with us to make this possible,” said Lin Howes-Barr, executive director, Spence Neighbourhood Association. “The community has always been the heartbeat of SNA and WE24. A strong community vision, coupled with the hard work of our incredibly warm and caring staff team, has made this possible." 
Staff at each location will receive training to provide strength-based services to address the unique needs of clients, and create a welcoming and inclusive space. In the past year, the Manitoba government has invested over $42 million in new or expanded mental health and addiction services.
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