Councillor's motion asks for provincial help with low-barrier housing
Winnipeg Sun Article published April 13, 2023
A Winnipeg city councillor wants to open a dialogue with the provincial government about rental properties that are causing ongoing problems.
Coun. Cindy Gilroy (Daniel McIntyre) has a motion in front of the executive policy committee that asks the province to help with rentals that have health and safety issues. Gilroy’s motion, which was seconded by Mayor Scott Gillingham, calls on the province to issue licenses similar to daycares and seniors’ complexes for low-barrier buildings primarily funded directly through EIA.
Having low-barrier housing be licensed would ensure a higher level of care in terms of fire inspections, health and safety, and how they operate and are managed, Gilroy said.
“The province’s properties […] are now totally managed by organizations that have the skills and the knowledge to make sure that they’re helping to support people that have similar issues like mental health and addiction issues,” she added.
Having a mental health worker living on-site or other support 24 hours a day could help people kick their addiction or work to better their mental health, Gilroy said.
“That’s what I think that our citizens in Winnipeg are asking us to do, instead of shovelling it under the ground,” she said.
Gilroy’s motion says that as social housing stock is decreasing and vulnerable people without access to social housing are being pushed to live in private rentals that are not equipped to provide access to different kinds of support.
These properties are also subject to frequent visits from fire, paramedics, bylaw enforcement and police.
Gilroy mentioned that there are landlords that are equipped to deal with the overflowing garbage and complaints from neighbours but some are not — either intentionally or otherwise. There is a tendency to hoard things for some people struggling with addictions, she added.
“What’s happening is that part of the issue with the addictions is there’s a hoarding impact,” Gilroy said. “That’s why we’re seeing a lot of the people going through garbage and everything because it’s part of their addiction, they tend to hoard
“That filters into the garbage cans outside the buildings and around their properties where people live, and it filters into their suites.”
Gilroy lamented that if people are not staying housed because of the property’s conditions, there are major issues. It’s also harder for people with mental health and addiction issues to just move to a new place, she said.
“Vulnerable people don’t have a choice where they live, they get put wherever they can get put,” Gilroy said. “The onus is up to us as governments to ensure that where they are going is healthy and safe.”
Gilroy’s motion will be discussed at the April 18 meeting of the executive policy committee.
Full Article link to the Winnipeg Sun https://winnipegsun.com/news/local-news/councillors-motion-asks-for-provincial-help-with-low-barrier-housing