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'Everyone deserves a home': Advocates call for long-term housing as homeless struggle with cold


As brutally cold temperatures and mounting piles of snow pose serious safety concerns for Winnipeg’s unsheltered population, an advocate is calling for longer-term solutions to homelessness.

Steve Pachol has been without a home for almost a year now.

Thanks to a new shelter that opened back in December, he’s been able to escape the extreme cold at night.

"I certainly ain’t lacking. Food, I’m good. Clothing, I’m good. I got a bed under my butt and a roof over my head, so I’m doing good there," said Pachol, who was collecting change at a boulevard on Main Street.

But not all are handling the elements as well. Some people are either left without shelter or are using bus shelters as a temporary home.

End Homelessness Winnipeg said this winter has been a very dangerous one for the city’s unsheltered population.

"They are either at risk of frostbite or hypothermia due to the cold or at risk of, again, hypothermia or trench foot with the wet conditions and the heavy snow," said Kris Clemens, communications & community relations manager at End Homelessness Winnipeg.

According to Clemens, an increase in services and shelters like the one Pachol is using are helping to ensure everyone stays safe.

"We have lots of services and supports available for people and a lot of amenities in terms of overnight and drop-in spaces," said Clemens.

While the services are helpful in the short term, Clemens said they don’t fix the root causes of homelessness.

"What’s really lacking is a place to offer people that would give them a longer-range path to housing and safety," noted Clemens.

A sentiment echoed by Pachol.

"I try to find a place with a limited budget, and if you’re especially on EIA, there’s not a lot of places out there other than the hotels that are in this area," said Pachol. "Trying to find an apartment that’s, you know, is reasonably priced is pretty tough."

Moving forward, End Homelessness Winnipeg said all levels of government must work together in order to create more low-budget housing solutions.

Housing—that could help Pachol find his own place.

"There’s graffiti on a building over there that says, 'everyone deserves a home.' Now that I’ve been homeless for about a year now, well there’s nothing more truer than that," Pachol said.

When asked for comment, the mayor’s office said it’s encouraged by the mention of a strategy to address homelessness in the provincial speech from the throne.

CTV News also reached out to the province for comment but has not yet heard back. Top Stories

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