WINNIPEG, MB, November 15, 2023
Four sector partners collaborate to organize, facilitate, and staff project
A coalition of Winnipeg organisations dedicated to ending chronic homelessness will open a Winter Pop Up to ensure Winnipeggers experiencing homelessness have a warm place to stay overnight.
Until the end of March, the space will be available in the Drop In at Siloam Mission. The Pop Up is made possible by funding from the City of Winnipeg and End Homelessness Winnipeg and will be a collaborative effort by sector partners Main Street Project, 1JustCity, Sunshine House, and Siloam Mission.
“We’re excited to be hosting this important initiative made possible thanks to collaboration in our sector to make sure that there’s a space for everyone as these months get colder. This short-term solution is needed this winter, but I hope in future winters we’ll have seen the investment and construction of housing units so that it is not needed,” says Tessa Blaikie Whitecloud, CEO at Siloam Mission.
A decision to open the Pop Up will be made three days in advance and depends on three factors to ensure staff and scheduling are ready:
- The overnight temperature ‘feels like’ -10 C or colder (forecast three days in advance)
- All emergency shelters are consistently full (N’Dinawemak, Main Street Project, Salvation Army, Siloam Mission, and Just a Warm Sleep)
- A minimum of four staff are present.
“This is a collective, collaborative effort to ensure that we have the ability to create safe spaces when all shelter beds are full. It is a testament to the willingness to work together and share resources to support our community when they need it,” says Jamil Mahmood, Executive Director at Main Street Project.
“We know that the real solution is more housing, so we hope that we can work to creating more housing so we don’t need temporary bandaid solutions next winter.”
Pop Up hours are from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. Siloam’s Drop In space closes at 8 p.m. when the overnight shelter opens. The time gap allows Drop In and Shelter staff to do intake, referrals, and redirections. The space will be a welcoming place, providing community members access to services such as snacks and coffee, as well as activities such as games and art kits. The Pop Up will also be a safe space for community members to sleep or stay awake, depending on their needs.
The grant for the project is a total of $265,000. To make this possible the City contributed $200,000 as part of the $1 million already approved by Council in the 2023 Budget to expand 24/7 Safe Space partnerships and pilot new extreme weather initiatives. The other $65,000 is generously provided by End Homelessness Winnipeg.
“We are very excited to be a part of this innovative strategy to address the needs of our kin during the harsh winter. We are hoping that it will be a space where relationships are born strengthened, and people will feel seen and respected.” says Levi A. Foy, Executive Director at Sunshine House. “Coming together as a group and working off one another’s strength will hopefully be a benefit to the City of Winnipeg while we are continually working towards long term sustainable housing solutions for our communities.”