Addressing Métis Homelessness - The Reaching Home Initiative

The MMF has begun developing a strategy to support Metis citizens who are experiencing homelessness or at risk of experiencing homelessness. This project is still in its early days, meaning that the MMF is currently undertaking engagement, consultation, planning, research and pilot projects to develop programs to support at risk citizens. To accomplish our goals the MMF has partnered with the government of Canada to work together on a government-to-government and nation-to-nation basis.

The MMF aims to determine the amount of Métis who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless within Manitoba and, to the best of its abilities, assist them to access programs that will provide shelter under a housing first model while providing supports to ensure they can be reintegrated successfully into society. The project aims to integrate and expand existing MMF programming to provide critical supports to vulnerable Métis Citizens in an effective and culturally appropriate manner.

This initiative will involve a homelessness support centre in Winnipeg that will use a Housing First model that seeks to house homeless Metis Citizens first and then offer them wrap-around supports afterwards. The site will not require sober living as well as we want to ensure that we are helping all Metis Citizens experiencing homelessness regardless of their current situation. The MMF housing department is currently close to securing a site for this support centre and are in the process of choosing a name, which will be unveiled soon. We will also acquire an office space sometime in late 2021 for our homelessness support team.

In preparation for the creation of this centre, the housing department has been actively participating in ongoing engagement with stakeholders and existing service providers to develop and provide a culturally appropriate Métis-specific approach to addressing homelessness. This process has involved analyzing our target population and researching how many Metis citizens are experiencing homelessness in Winnipeg. The 2018 Winnipeg Street Census has provided information for the latter as it estimated that 234 Metis citizens were experiencing homelessness at that time. In total, 1,519 homeless Winnipeggers were counted, although newer reports have estimated that this number has risen during the pandemic. Of the homeless Winnipeggers counted in 2018, 66% were Indigenous, 15.4% identified as Metis and 15% of the Metis homeless population spent time in Child and Family Services (CFS).

Our research has also identified subpopulations at higher risk of experiencing homelessness. These populations include youth aging out of Child and Family Services (and young people generally), people with addictions, people who have been released from correctional institutions, women fleeing violence, members of the 2SLGBTQ community, 60s scoop and residential school survivors, migrants from rural Manitoba, veterans, people seeking emergency medical services or those who have just finished receiving medical services and hard to reach populations such as couch surfers, those fleeing violence or family breakdowns. Our services will therefore focus on helping these identified subpopulations. One way in which we are doing so is by reserving 25% of all units for women fleeing violence.

Once completed, our centre will be home to twenty-four (24) transitional housing units in the form of 'micro-suites'. These micro suites will include a bathroom, a bed, a kitchen and will provide residents with a safe, clean, secure, and private place to live. The centre will also be home to wrap around services that will support Metis Citizens experiencing homelessness. Some of these services include:

  • Computer access
  • Job readiness programs, resume building etc.
  • Mental health and addictions support
  • Meal programs
  • Paid training opportunities
  • Advocacy
  • Access to a Metis Elder
  • ID clinic
  • Intake/assessment
  • Medical room with a nurse on site part-time
  • Laundry, showers, clothing bank
  • Drop in safe space
  • And more

The goal of the MMF's homelessness support centre is to reduce and prevent homelessness, so that we can work towards ending homelessness. The project is expected to launch in late 2022/early 2023.

B300-150 Henry Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3B 0J7

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