Bus shelter proposal ignores root causes of homelessness, Winnipeg advocates say

A bus stop outside Kildonan Place. Global News

Advocates for Winnipeg’s homeless population say they intend to keep up the fight to ensure city officials treat them with respect.

The city’s executive policy committee (EPC) recently rejected a motion that had called for removing parts of heated bus shelters near Kildonan Place Mall to deter homeless people from using them.

The motion will still go before the full council next week, along with the committee’s recommendation that councillors reject the proposal.

Glynis Quinn, executive director of 1JustCity, told 680 CJOB the proposed plan would never have successfully solved anything, as it ignores the root causes.

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“It (would) push homelessness further into the suburbs,” Quinn said.

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“It will not go away until we deal with the systemic problems that lead to it.”

“(Homelessness) happens from trauma, that happens from poverty, that happens from a crisis of mental health, but it doesn’t happen because it’s a dream of someone’s.”

Quinn said that along with other advocates, she is preparing to present at council in hopes of defeating the motion again. She said the city’s efforts would be better directed toward fixing support systems for those experiencing homelessness.

“That takes time, that takes trust, that takes invitation and encouragement, because people have experienced a lot of distress in their lives — a lot of disappointment.”

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Social Planning Council director Kate Kehler said the vote represents a frustrating step backwards for policymakers, and has added work for already strained advocacy organizations.

“Unfortunately, not everybody gets it at this point in time and they’re looking for the quick and simple solution,” Kehler said.

“Not even the police agree with just moving people on. They used to do that, but they don’t do it anymore, because they know it’s ineffective.

“The many organizations out there who are running themselves ragged trying to help people, had to kind of rearrange their days in order to pull together presentations to come to EPC … and we may very well have to do the same thing next week on Thursday.”

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Click to play video: 'City councillor calls for bus shelter changes' City councillor calls for bus shelter changes
City councillor calls for bus shelter changes – Jun 8, 2022

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