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.
“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.
“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.