The Province is providing more than $150,000 to Samaritan House’s Safe and Warm Shelter to operate an overflow warming space this winter to meet increased demand for emergency housing,' stated last Friday's Media Release.
This, being a part of 'the Manitoba government’s multi-faceted approach to improve public safety and the health and well-being of those most vulnerable'.
Premier Heather Stefanson and Families Minister Rochelle Squires announced this investment builds on the efforts to help make communities safe by addressing and preventing homelessness with new investments for community organizations that support our most vulnerable citizens.
“We recognize there is an urgent need for additional support. We are listening and we are acting,” said Stefanson.
"Samaritan House provides emergency shelter services for people experiencing homelessness in Brandon, and provides bedding, food and toiletries. The new funding will enable Samaritan House to create a warming space where individuals can stay when the shelter is at capacity, ensuring that everyone has a safe place to spend the night," the premier said.
“The Safe and Warm Shelter is at capacity most nights and with this funding we can work with others to provide the extra overflow needed to ensure there is a warm place for people to be when we have reached our limit,” said Barbara McNish, executive director, Samaritan House. “We are thankful for this funding so that we can offer a needed warming space and ensure that people in our community have a safe spot to escape the cold this winter.”
'In the last two years, the shelter served 200 individuals annually and averaged 30 people each night in fall and winter months. In the first nine months of 2022, the shelter served 400 individuals, with demand surging to 50 to 60 people per night,' the minister noted.'
With a capacity of 41 people at the Safe and Warm Shelter, Samaritan House is seeing an overflow of 10 to 20 people each night. Numbers are expecting to increase as winter temperatures set in.
"There aren't a lot of details right now but moving forward we will be working with the different agencies in Brandon, including the City of Brandon, to see what our options are," explains McNish. "The Province will be at the table with us, and the City of Brandon, to brainstorm with all of our fellow collaborators, to look at all the options."
"Right now, it's in the early stages, and we'll have to get on this quickly," she adds. "Meetings are happening as early as this week and hopefully finding something within the next week or two, but again you've got to look at insurance, and liability, so there's a few hoops to jump through, but I think before our coldest weather hits we'll have something in place."
"We're just so thankful that we've got some funding so that we can look at all our options and see what that might look like."adds McNish.
'The funding builds on the $9-million investment in annual funding rates to shelters, transitional housing services and homeless outreach mentors announced earlier this week. Samaritan House funding will increase to $501,875 from $172,000. Additionally, the Community Health and Housing Association will benefit from an annual funding increase to $184,800 from $25,500. This investment will support the association’s existing half-time homeless outreach mentor and support the addition of two and a half new positions, for a total of three homeless outreach mentors in Brandon.'