Manitoba investing to help low-income residents impacted by COVID-19
WINNIPEG -- The Manitoba government is trying to help those who have been affected most by the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Tuesday, Families Minister Rochelle Squires announced the government will be investing in Manitobans who have had to rely on social services since the pandemic started.
The government will be providing $468,000 to go towards COVID-19 isolation units that are used by Manitobans who are dealing with homelessness. The units are at a facility in Winnipeg run by the Main Street Project.
Squires said the isolation units will provide capacity.
"We have created additional beds for people who are experiencing homelessness that have tested positive (for COVID-19) and need to isolate," said Squires.
She said the province has created 90 beds so far and as of Tuesday they were at 50 per cent capacity, noting that number does fluctuate on a day-to-day basis.
"When individuals are isolating in one of these particular units they are provided their three meals a day by our government as well as a safe place to stay during their isolation period."
Squires added capacity can be increased if there is a greater need for it.
"When someone who is experiencing homelessness requires an isolation unit, we will always ensure that they have that capacity."
The province also announced a partnership with two community groups to help prepare and deliver meals to low-income Manitobans who don't have access to a kitchen and are self-isolating because of COVID-19. As part of that partnership, the province is investing $335,000 towards the project.
The province said since the end of 2020, between five and 10 low-income Manitobans have received a daily meal package.
The packages are prepared by Manitoba Housing's Food Services, and Made with Love gives one vacuum-sealed meal per package. The meals are then delivered by Sscope.
Squires said this meals program will continue as long as the pandemic is happening.
Manitoba NDP MLA Malaya Marcelino called the announcement paltry, saying the government could do a lot more to help those in need right now.
"What we need is five loaves of bread and two fish and instead our community got crumbs," said Marcelino.
Manitoba Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont also said the province needs to do more when addressing homelessness adding they can't keep coming up with temporary solutions.
"Part of the entire problem with this government's approach to homelessness is they are expanding a temporary solution. We are talking about shelter spaces, we are not talking about permanent housing," said Lamont.