Manitoba Government Press Release–The Manitoba government has chosen Wahbung Abinoonjiiag Inc. to lead a network of community agencies to help improve housing options for women and children who have experienced family violence, Families Minister Heather Stefanson, Sport, Culture and Heritage Minister Cathy Cox, minister responsible for the status of women, and Indigenous and Northern Relations Minister Eileen Clarke announced today.
“Women and children who are leaving an abusive or violent situation need a safe place to call home,” said Stefanson. “We are proud to partner with Wahbung Abinoonjiiag to provide vulnerable Manitobans with long-term, secure and affordable housing.”
Manitoba Housing issued a request for expressions of interest in June 2019, seeking a community partner to help identify and designate up to 50 long-term social housing units for women and children affected by family violence.
Wahbung Abinoonjiiag will work closely with family violence shelters, other organizations that provide longer-term protective and supportive housing, and women’s resource centres to ensure women and children affected by family violence are connected to appropriate social housing. To date, several properties have been selected and work is underway to support the transition. To protect the safety and privacy of families, locations will not be disclosed.
“Organizations like Wahbung Abinoonjiiag and their partners understand how important a stable, safe home can be for women and children as they start a new life,” said Cox. “These families can feel supported, knowing their housing provider also has expertise and understanding related to their situation. We believe this partnership will help more women and children to heal and thrive.”
”Wahbung Abinoonjiiag is honoured to be selected to lead this important initiative,” said Dana Riccio-Arabe, executive director. “Our partnership model works in collaboration with sister organizations to provide wrap-around supports and services for children and their families affected by violence to have safe, affordable housing to call home. We would like to thank the province for selecting our organization, our partnership model for their collective wisdom, and our community for trusting us to lead this important work. Together, we can not only envision but actively work toward a place and time where children and their families can live free of violence and unrestrained by the impacts of violence.”
Wahbung Abinoonjiiag expects to begin taking referrals for housing needs this spring.
“Our government is proud to form important partnerships with community-based Indigenous organizations like Wahbung Abinoonjiiag,” said Clarke. “These are significant steps to advancing reconciliation.”
Stefanson noted the province’s support for Wahbung Abinoonjiiag builds on housing priorities recently set out in a 12-month department action plan. It notes priority will be given to populations that face barriers in securing housing, including women and children experiencing domestic violence. The action plan is available online at www.gov.mb.ca/fs/pubs/shared-priorities-sustainable-progress.pdf.
For more information about Manitoba’s family violence prevention program including supports available to women, men and families, visit www.gov.mb.ca/msw/fvpp. For more information about how Manitoba Housing partners with community organizations, private groups and governments to create safe and affordable housing, visit www.gov.mb.ca/housing