News Releases

News Release - Canada and Manitoba

May 21, 2021


– – –
Mental Health and Addiction Supports Will Be On-Site at New Micro-Suite Apartment Building

Watch news conference

The governments of Canada and Manitoba are partnering with the Pollard family of Winnipeg to build new housing for the protection of vulnerable homeless populations with mental health or addiction issues in Winnipeg’s Centennial neighbourhood.

“Our government will always be there to help those in need, which is why we are investing in this important project,” said federal Minister of Northern Affairs, the Honourable Daniel Vandal. “This housing complex is more than just a safe and affordable place to call home, it is a key to a better life for the vulnerable individuals in our city who come here when they have nowhere else to go. I want to thank everyone involved for their dedication to their community and for making today’s announcement possible.”

“Every Canadian deserves a safe and affordable place to call home. That’s why our government, through the National Housing Strategy, is supporting initiatives like this Home First Winnipeg Inc. project, so that collectively we are better able to assist people who are vulnerable in finding the support that they need,” said Adam Vaughan, parliamentary secretary to the federal minister of families, children and social development. “Our government is working collaboratively with the government of Manitoba to address the most urgent housing challenges in the province.”

“The Manitoba government recognizes that securing housing to protect individuals and families vulnerable to homelessness is a complex issue that requires collaboration across all levels of government, stakeholders and community,” said Manitoba Families Minister Rochelle Squires. “We are pleased to partner with the government of Canada and the Pollard family on this innovative response to homelessness.”

Home First Winnipeg Inc., a non-profit charitable corporation established by the Pollard family to provide safe, quality and affordable housing for Winnipeg’s homeless population, will develop and construct the three-storey, 47-micro-suite apartment building. The Pollards are donating $3.9 million to Home First Winnipeg to go toward the $8-million cost of the development.

“Our family is very pleased to be developing this important resource for our community. We think that providing safe, secure housing on a housing-first philosophy is a critical step in improving the city for people who are at risk of homelessness. We are very thankful to the provincial and federal governments for being such strong supporters of this project, as well we would like to thank End Homelessness Winnipeg and the City of Winnipeg for their support,” said John Pollard, co-CEO of Pollard Banknote, and president of Home First. “Lastly, a huge thank you to the Centennial neighbourhood for being so welcoming to us.”

The new secure housing complex at 390 Ross Ave. will include a commercial kitchen and common dining area on the ground floor, as well as a living room, game room, TV area for social interaction and a round room for Indigenous cultural activities. Staff will be on-site 24-7 to provide support to residents. The fenced yards will be landscaped, with an outdoor patio and community garden area for tenants.

Residents will not be required to live a sober lifestyle, though supports will be provided for those seeking recovery from addictions. Squires noted 15 of the 47 units will be accessible for people with disabilities.

The governments of Canada and Manitoba are providing more than $1.1 million for the project through the Canada-Manitoba Housing Agreement under the National Housing Strategy, which was signed by both governments in 2019. The 10-year bilateral agreement will provide almost $450.8 million in joint funding to protect, renew and expand social and community housing, and will support Manitoba’s priorities related to housing repair, construction and affordability.

An additional $800,000 is being provided through the Shared Health Priorities bilateral agreement. Squires noted the province will continue to fund the project through an annual operating commitment, which includes shelter and meal benefits paid to Employment and Income Assistance, a rent subsidy from the Canada-Manitoba Housing Benefit and funding from the Mental Health and Addictions Bilateral Agreement.

The federal government is also providing a capital grant of $100,000 through Reaching Home: Canada’s Homelessness Strategy, and the City of Winnipeg is providing a capital grant of $100,000.

The provision of housing for individuals experiencing homelessness continues to be a priority for the Manitoba government. Between April 2020 and March 2021, the Department of Families and its community-based partners housed 1,746 vulnerable individuals including those who were homeless, temporarily sheltered or fleeing domestic violence.

The 2021 provincial budget includes nearly $5 million for Manitobans experiencing homelessness due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The province will continue to protect and support vulnerable Manitobans and youth through shelters and programming.

In March, the Manitoba government announced $2.56 million in funding to the Manitoba Non-Profit Housing Association for wraparound supports to individuals and families experiencing homelessness, to help them secure and sustain housing.

Since 2016, the Manitoba government has supported the creation of 713 new affordable and social housing rental units. As well, the province has supported home ownership for more than 220 households through partnerships with municipalities, non-profit organizations and other agencies.

Construction on the project is expected to begin this summer.

- 30 -