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Manitoba Government News Release–The Manitoba government is taking a number of steps to ensure additional supports are available to Manitobans who rely on social services during the COVID-19 pandemic, Families Minister Rochelle Squires announced today.

“Our government understands that not all Manitobans have been impacted equally by this pandemic and it’s important to ensure that no one falls through the cracks as we face this challenge together,” said Squires. “Today I’m pleased to announce a number of initiatives to support and protect Manitobans during this very challenging time.”

The minister said the province is providing an additional $468,000 to support COVID-19 isolation units for people experiencing homelessness at a Winnipeg facility operated by Main Street Project. This funding builds on more than $1.6 million the Manitoba government has already provided to operate this site, bringing total provincial support for the facility to more than $2.1 million.

“The pandemic has had a significant impact on individuals and families experiencing homelessness,” said Squires. “In recent months, this site has operated at 80 to 100 per cent capacity. The new, additional provincial funding will help Main Street Project respond to this demand, which ultimately helps to protect all Manitobans from the spread of COVID-19.”

The province is also partnering with two community agencies and providing $335,000 for the preparation and delivery of meals to low-income Manitobans who do not have access to kitchen facilities and are self-isolating because of COVID-19. Since Dec. 31, 2020, five to 10 low-income Manitobans per day have received daily meal packages including breakfast, lunch and dinner during their isolation periods. Manitoba Housing’s Food Services prepares individual breakfasts and lunches, and puts together the meal packages, while Made with Love provides one vacuum-sealed prepared meal per package. The meals are delivered by Sscope.

The minister provided an update, as well, on training and recruitment initiatives that were launched in November to support agencies serving Manitobans with disabilities. These initiatives include a partnership with Manitoba Possible and its online platform, called ‘envoyy’, to connect agencies with job seekers who have appropriate training and skills. Nearly 2,000 individuals seeking employment have registered with the ‘envoyy’ platform since the launch of this partnership.

In addition, Squires noted that more than 150 participants have enrolled in a free online training program, developed by Red River College in partnership with the province, on the fundamentals of disability support work. This one-week training opportunity prepares participants to make positive impacts in these roles while protecting vulnerable Manitobans.

The minister also applauded TELUS for extending data plans the telecommunications company donated last April, along with 123 tablets that were distributed to community organizations providing group care resources for children. The tablets help ensure children in care can stay connected with family members and other important supports during the COVID-19 pandemic. The recipients will now be able to benefit from the data plans and tablets until the end of June.

The Manitoba government is taking strong action to protect Manitobans and ensure timely access to care. For more information on COVID-19 in Manitoba, visit www.manitoba.ca/COVID19