Ottawa adding another $12.8M to help Winnipeg’s unhoused population

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The second round of the federal government’s Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI) will see $12.8 million put toward more units for affordable and transition housing in Winnipeg.

Federal Minister of Families Ahmed Hussen announced the funding Monday morning at a joint virtual news conference hosted by Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman. It also included remarks from Terry Duguid, the M.P. for Winnipeg-South.

The new funding will create 51 new affordable housing units in Winnipeg. This is in addition to the Government of Canada's previous investment of $12.5 million through the first phase of the Rapid Housing Initiative to support the creation of 83 housing units in Winnipeg.

Hussen said the new units are to be built in twelve months or less.

“Far too many Canadians are forced to make the choice between paying for their groceries and paying for their rent. And as the pandemic hit, those already in precarious housing situations were most impacted. As we recover, we have to ensure affordable housing plays a key role in the economic recovery that we’re working on,” said Hussen.

Bowman said under round one of the RHI, Winnipeg received $12.5 million, which was used to create a total of 88 affordable units. He said the goal this time is to focus on the needs of some specific groups of people who may be experiencing housing uncertainty.

“Funding for this round will focus on women and children fleeing violence. There’s also a general focus on projects led by or targeted toward Indigenous populations and Black Canadians,” Bowman said.

“What I love about this program is that it is rapid, it’s the Rapid Housing Initiative. It’s also outcomes focused. Fifty-one new affordable housing units in addition to the investments the federal government already made in our community is something that is really going to help a lot of people.”

Bowman also indicated that the City of Winnipeg will be identifying specific recipients of this additional funding in the near future.