Skip to Content
View site list


Pre-Bid Projects

Pre-Bid Projects

Click here to see Canada’s most comprehensive listing of projects in conceptual and planning stages


Winnipeg getting new supply of social housing

Peter Caulfield
Winnipeg getting new supply of social housing
@WABKINEW — Manitoba Premier Wab Kinew said recently he wants to expropriate derelict buildings in the city and turn them into social housing. Expropriating the buildings and fixing them up would help the NDP government meet its target of eliminating chronic homelessness within eight years.

Like many other cities in Canada, Winnipeg has a shortage of social housing – residential units that charge rents under the market rate and sometimes provide personal support of some kind.

But things are looking up on the social housing front, with some recent activity filling in some of that shortage.

For example, a four-storey, 15-unit building is being built in downtown Winnipeg that will serve as second-stage transitional housing for Indigenous and newcomer women and children.

The project is led by the University of Winnipeg Community Renewal Corporation 2.0. The other participants in the project are Ikwe-Widdjiitiwin, a Winnipeg crisis shelter; Family Dynamics, a counselling service; and New Journey Housing, which helps newcomers to Canada rent or buy housing.

In addition, the Manitoba government is providing $2.25 million towards the development’s construction.

On top of that, the Winnipeg Housing Rehabilitation Corporation (WHRC) is building a new six-storey, 154-unit complex in the eastern suburb of Transcona.

The development will contain 31 units whose rent will be geared to income, plus market units and units at 80 per cent of median market rent.

WHRC executive director James Heinrichs says construction is slated to begin in spring 2025 and completed in 2027.

“The site has some contaminated soil that has to be remediated, but other than that it’s a vacant lot of approximately 2.2 acres,” says Heinrichs.

A not-for-profit charity, WHRC has a portfolio of approximately 1,800 housing units in 28 buildings in the Winnipeg inner city and the north end.

“WHRC will be the developer and property manager of the project,” says Heinrichs. “Some of the social housing units will be fully accessible, and we’ll partner with Siloam Mission to offer those spaces to people with disabilities.”

A Christian-based non-profit service organization for Manitoba homeless people, Siloam Mission operates a shelter in Winnipeg’s Exchange District.

In addition, it has 85 long-term units in the city’s Wolseley neighbourhood, 20 transitional units and 33 supportive housing units for seniors in a western suburb of Winnipeg.

Siloam CEO Tessa Blaikie Whitecloud says the charity is planning to add to its stock of social housing units. It recently announced a new housing strategy whereby it will create between 700 and 1,000 new housing units over the next 10 years.

Blakie Whitecloud says the organization plans to create new housing all over Winnipeg, wherever it is needed.

“We’re planning to construct a mix of buildings,” she says. “There will be some new builds, some renovations of existing structures and some densification infills, too.”

Siloam has already begun work on its strategy.

In February, it took over the lease of the Odd Fellows Home (built in 1923) in Charleswood.

The old building is now a 32-unit supportive housing facility for formerly homeless people 50 years and older.

Now known as The Roblin, because of its location on Roblin Boulevard, the facility will give seniors who had been staying overnight in the Siloam Mission shelter their own apartments, with meals provided.

“Supportive housing, like this one, is brand new,” says Blaikie Whitecloud. “We are learning as we go.”

There are not nearly enough public housing units in Winnipeg to satisfy the need, she says.

“Other cities in Western Canada are doing a much better job of providing public housing,” says Blaikie Whitecloud.

The increasing demand for and the shortage of public housing in Winnipeg has not escaped the watchful eye of the New Democratic Party (NDP) provincial government.

Manitoba Premier Wab Kinew said recently he wants to expropriate derelict buildings in the city, of which there is a healthy supply, and turn them into social housing.

Expropriating the not-so-gently used buildings and fixing them up would help the NDP government meet its target of eliminating chronic homelessness within eight years, says Kinew.

Because it takes time for the provincial government to build new housing, one of the easier ways to make some progress on meeting housing needs is to find a hotel or apartment building that is not fit for habitation now, rehabilitate it, and a few months later make it available for occupancy.

Winnipeg Mayor Scott Gillingham says he likes the premier’s idea. The city has approximately 750 derelict properties on it watchlist.

The mayor says the city needs more housing immediately, so converting derelict properties to housing is an idea he wants to explore.

An added bonus to such an initiative is that turning vacant and derelict properties into housing would reduce the risk of fires and improve the appearance of some neighbourhoods, Gillingham says.

Recent Comments

Your comment will appear after review by the site.

You might also like