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'We're not cutting people off': Birchwood Terrace residents told not to worry about losing government supports


It's been more than one month since around 250 residents at a St. James area apartment were told to leave immediately due to structure deterioration, and now the premier is telling them not to worry.

Speaking at the legislature Wednesday afternoon, Wab Kinew tried to calm anxieties for those Birchwood Terrace residents who are worried that government support will end.

"No one's going to be put out into the street, and that's my commitment," Kinew said.

There had been similar concerns at the end of May when support provided by the Canadian Red Cross was set to expire.

Kinew said he understands that fear can arise when deadlines for support get closer.

"I apologize to folks that you get two weeks and then two weeks of heads up. But the fact of the matter is folks have been put into a situation that I don't think any of us would ever imagine would befall somebody, and as a result, we're going to continue to work with folks who have been put into this unfortunate situation at Birchwood Terrace."

The main goal for Kinew is to work with the residents to help them find new permanent housing solutions that they can call home in the future.

"We're not cutting people off by some arbitrary deadline, but again, it's just the nature of how this thing works that we're a part of here. The first 72 hours is one window of action. Then there's a two-week window, and another two weeks and so on and so forth. So I recognize that creates some anxiety for folks because certain deadlines get worked up that aren't real deadlines."

He also noted this experience is a learning moment for the province and the government is working on legislation to address some of the issues that have come from Birchwood Terrace.

"How can we take action to protect people in their homes? People deserve to feel safe. When you come home at the end of a workday to kick up your feet and watch Netflix or whatever, you shouldn't be expected to evacuate that same evening. And so how do we strengthen the framework here to avoid a situation like this in the future?" Top Stories

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