THE provincial government signalled a move toward more private-sector involvement in Manitoba Housing projects Friday, drawing the ire of the Right to Housing Coalition.

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THE provincial government signalled a move toward more private-sector involvement in Manitoba Housing projects Friday, drawing the ire of the Right to Housing Coalition.

"We need to transform the way we provide services to Manitobans, so that we are offering them a hand up, not a handout," Families Minister Heather Stefanson said in a written statement.

"The Department of Families has set out a 12-month plan that clearly outlines how we will work together to protect our children, reduce dependence on government programs, and strengthen Manitoba families and communities."

The 12-month strategy is aimed at transforming family services, with the province indicating transitioning to more private ownership in Manitoba Housing will be a priority.

The government will seek to push Manitoba Housing away from "its current role as a housing provider" and instead emphasize its "responsibilities as a funder and regulator," the strategy document notes.

It remains unclear what percentage of social housing units the province plans to sell.

The Right to Housing Coalition was quick to criticize the announcement.

"While the Manitoba Right to Housing Coalition was pleased to see ‘housing’ included in its list of

10 priority areas, the coalition is deeply concerned with the direction the government plans to take," its news release said.

"The report is short on details, but its intentions are clear: the Manitoba government is intent on getting out of the business of housing low-income families." 

The group says roughly 7,000 people are on the Manitoba Housing wait list, and it fails to see how the situation will improve without the government increasing the housing supply.

The coalition said it has a meeting with Stefanson on March 3.

Friday’s news drew sharp criticism from NDP housing critic Danielle Adams.

"Safe, affordable housing is the first step to solving so many of the safety, addition and health-care issues we see in our province. That’s why it must be government’s responsibility to build social housing — so that every family has a place to live, no matter if it’s profitable to do so," the Thompson MLA said in a written statement.

"The only action (Premier Brian) Pallister’s Conservatives have taken in the face of a housing crisis — made worse by freezing temperatures — is to sell off social housing units and cut frontline services."

ryan.thorpe@freepress.mb.ca

 

Ryan Thorpe

Ryan Thorpe
Reporter

Ryan Thorpe likes the pace of daily news, the feeling of a broadsheet in his hands and the stress of never-ending deadlines hanging over his head.