WINNIPEG -- To address the issue of a lack of public washrooms downtown, the City of Winnipeg has opened seven temporary washrooms, giving the homeless population access to a public bathroom.

The city said the Places to Go – Public Restroom Strategy was developed to identify gaps and high-needs areas for public washrooms for those experiencing homelessness, an issue that has been made worse by the pandemic.

Phase one of the initiative began back in December with the first three washrooms installed on Portage Avenue, Selkirk Avenue and Osborne Street. Three more units on Martha Street and one on Furby Street followed.

The locations were determined after consultations with community stakeholders and End Homelessness Winnipeg. 

At the time, Sherri Rollins, chairperson of the Standing Policy Committee on Protection, Community Services and Parks, said in a statement:

"The Places to Go Strategy is about profound human dignity and making sure that Winnipeg’s most vulnerable among us have access to basic human rights and necessities." 

Funding for the $50,000 project comes from a $670,000 donation to the Community Response Fund for Vulnerable Populations, provided by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities to provide COVID-19-related support to vulnerable populations.

The remaining money is going towards building permanent public washrooms in the downtown area this year.