'This is a life and death situation': Manitoba MP calls on feds to invest more in Indigenous housing
WINNIPEG -- A new report from the Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) has one Manitoba MP calling on the federal government to invest more in Indigenous housing in Winnipeg.
The report found that Winnipeg leads the country with the highest number of Indigenous households in housing need.
Winnipeg has around 9,000 households, while Vancouver is second with around 8,000.
"This is a life and death situation in the city of Winnipeg, particularly with the extreme temperatures. We need immediate investment and major investment from the federal government," said Leah Gazan, who is the federal NDP MP for Winnipeg Centre.
Gazan said part of the PBO's report found there is a $636 million annual gap for what Indigenous households can afford and the cost of obtaining it.
"We need to get people in homes. Governments need to not use each other as excuses," she said, adding everyone throughout the country deserves to live in adequate housing.
"We know in the city of Winnipeg we need major investment in 24/7 safe spaces and low barrier housing with wrap around supports. I recently wrote a joint letter with my colleagues demanding all levels of government, to make major investments to ensure low barrier housing with supports. Where's the money"
She said communities know what they need, but right now what they are lacking is the political will.
Gazan also understands that this has been a continuous problem for quite some time, through many levels of government, but she said it all comes down to the decisions that governments make and where they decide to allocate their money.
"I am going to keep pushing this government to do the right thing and uphold our charter and ensure everybody's human right to housing is realized."
As part of Canada's 10-year National Housing Strategy, $26 million has been allocated annually for Indigenous housing programs.
The report said since 2017, when the strategy was announced, 143 affordable housing units have been created in Manitoba.