January 16, 2020
WINNIPEG - The Pallister Government is driving homelessness in Manitoba by selling thousands of units of Manitoba Housing, said Dougald Lamont, Leader of the Manitoba Liberals and MLA for St. Boniface.
In December, the Manitoba Liberals found out through freedom of information requests (FIPPA) that the PC government has sold off 94 properties, and that the wait list for Manitoba Housing grew every month.
A year ago, as of January 31, 2019, the wait list for Manitoba Housing was 6,851. By September 30, 2019 it had grown 8,449 - an increase of 1,598 in just nine months.
A new FIPPA shows details of the 94 properties that have been sold in every corner of the province. While there are many free-standing small houses, the sales also include seven large apartment buildings in Winnipeg, which together have thousands of housing units.
The large buildings that were sold off include:
595 Mountain Ave.
300 Selkirk Ave
60, 62, 64 Glen Meadow Street
26 Gaylene Place
21 Newdale Avenue
880 Arlington Street
356 Assiniboine Ave
185 Smith Street
"The PCs are saying that the NDP didn't do maintenance, but instead of fixing this problem, they are trying to wash their hands of it," said Lamont. "We have heard from people living on the street that rooming houses are too dangerous and that waitlists for Manitoba Housing are growing. You can't sell off thousands of public housing units and expect it won't have an effect on access."
Lamont added he has heard serious complaints from Manitoba Housing buildings where management has been handed over to private companies because residents in Manitoba Housing often require mental health supports.
"I heard from a tenant that the new company was good at pest control, but that security had collapsed, so there are people sleeping in laundry rooms and drug dealers and chop shops have moved in," said Lamont. "This speaks volumes about the PCs' government's failure to keep vulnerable people safe."