Effective June 27th I am reconfirmed by the Mayor in my role as Chair of the Standing Policy Committee on Protection, Community Services, and Parks; a member of the Housing Steering Committee; and Secretary of End Homelessness Strategies. The last few weeks these roles have only become more challenging.
The pandemic has exposed inequities in our city with respect to many of the social determinants of health; including income, and housing with the poorest people most affected and at-risk.
Thanks to so many for writing to the Fort Rouge East Fort Garry ward office on the removal of the noise emitting devices installed on city bridges. As you may have heard, the devices emit a high pitched sound deterring people from going anywhere near the bridges with a punishing sound. Thank-you for asserting they are inhumane, unnecessarily cruel, and that you do not want to see them used in your city. They were removed on the Midtown Bridge, the Maryland Bridge, Fermor Avenue underpass and Esplanade Riel. I appreciate all the calls, texts, emails and social media posts that contributed to their swift removal.
While no Councillor directed these noise emitting devices, it is clear council must do better and step up more directly to lead the policy conversation on homelessness.
It is critically important that we do more education on the human rights framework I believe council is trying to advance; one that is person-centered, and advances dignity at every step and stage of city building work.
As Chair of Protection, Community Services and Parks, and your City Councillor, weeks ago I wrote a motion in support of unsheltered Winnipeggers that was unanimously supported by Executive Policy Committee and is more in keeping with the values people in Winnipeg expect. The unsheltered working group released a plan it can be found here.
Real work and actions are needed that support housing: this Friday at council we advance a 24/7 grant framework and support the MMIWG-MB Coalition to advance their goal of a low barrier safe space in line with the calls to justice of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous women and girls (#4.7) .
More work and concerted action is needed to partner with End Homelessness Winnipeg to eliminate poverty including:
Creating a more supportive community and providing accessible, coordinated services for those most in need. This should include working with federal and provincial partners.
Increasing the supply and the spectrum of affordable housing in Winnipeg. This should include meaningful work establishing partnerships, building on the William Whyte project that saw housing developed on city owned land, and positive policy development in keeping with sustainability goals of a new Our Winnipeg.
Towards this end the Housing Steering Committee was also reconfirmed as Chair /Councillor Cindy Gilroy, Deputy Mayor John Orlikow and myself.