Calls to end homelessness in Canada are growing.

As the new, homelessness-focused nonprofit described in the Winnipeg Poverty Reduction Council’s (WPRC) Plan To End Homelessness in Winnipeg takes shape, calls to confront homelessness in Canada are growing.

Evidence Of Homelessness

Clothing left behind a dumpster on Princess Avenue in Winnipeg.

What is needed now is momentum to deal with homelessness in a more comprehensive manner. Solutions must come from the community, such as the Task Force to End Homelessness in Winnipeg. But all levels of government must begin to see the tremendous social and economic benefits of doing the right thing. Canada can end homelessness, and our elected officials have a duty to work together on funding community-based solutions.”

So writes Dr. Jino Distasio, Director of the Institute of Urban Studies at U of W and member of both WPRC’s Community Task Force to End Homelessness and Prevention of Homelessness committee, in the Winnipeg Free Press.

Dr. Distasio notes that the impact of homelessness to the Canadian economy is upwards of $7 billion annually. This figure comes from Homeless Hub’s State of Homelessness Report 2014.

HomelessnessInCanada-HomelessHubReport

From Homeless Hub’s ‘The State of Homelessness in Canada: 2014.’

“Ironically, it costs more to ignore our housing problem than it would to fix it….By not investing adequately in housing for the poorest Canadians, health care, justice and other taxpayer-funded costs increase.” —Stephen Gaetz, Tanya Gulliver, & Tim Richter (2014): The State of Homelessness in Canada: 2014. Toronto: The Homeless Hub Press.

Since the release of the Plan to End Homelessness last Spring, the WPRC, with the support of United Way, has been laying the foundation of the organization, systems and capacity needed to ‎implement the vision of the Task Force to End Homelessness in Winnipeg.

There is much yet to do but there is a stronger will and commitment to ending homelessness in Winnipeg than ever before, and examples and ideas from across the country are there for us to see and adapt‎ for Winnipeg.

Peg releases annual well-being report; Winnipeg improving in many key areas.

Peg releases Our City: A Peg report on Winnipeg's well being.

Today Peg released its first annual Winnipeg well-being report, Our City: A Peg report on Winnipeg’s well-being (PDF).

It outlines how we’re doing on 16 key indicators, and the good news is Winnipeg is improving on the majority.

Peg Winnipeg Well-Being Overview

Winnipeggers have been making many improvements, from increased high school graduation rates and more disposable income to environmental successes like using less water, recycling more and more rides on the bus.

Areas where Winnipeg is declining include rate of children in care, the condition of our dwellings, lower voter turnout, less volunteerism and escalating diabetes.

There’s been no change in readiness to learn—the skills children need upon entering kindergarten that go a long way towards future success. Up to 40% of Winnipeg children are entering school not ready to be thereImproving readiness to learn is one of the goals of our involvement in the Early Childhood Development Innovation Fund.

While caring about our city is important, caring alone is not enough to make change. It’s also important to measure and report on how we are doing.

Measuring and reporting on economic, social and environmental issues can help us rally and work together toward an even stronger Winnipeg. Measurement encourages us to ask questions, to seek innovation, to drive results, and to celebrate progress.