Poverty, Homelessness, Addiction and Crime
There is no quick fix to solving poverty, homelessness, addiction and crime.
Being on City Council for two terms (8 years) and involved in many societal issues, I strongly believe all levels of government need to do a better job of working together and using resources in a more efficient manner to address societal issues.
- A momentous goal for sure, but, as many in the Waverley West ward have seen, I’ve worked with local Provincial representative Jon Reyes, and local Federal MP Terry Duguid to improve the quality of life through many initiatives. I truly believe all elected officials need to do a better job of working together and I will continue to focus my efforts on this.
This is a topic I could write endlessly on – I have summarized massive issues into key points
- It is my observation there is still a very silo-based approach where departments operate in isolation of each other, both at the Provincial and City levels.
- Each level of government needs to break through the silos of the departments, and recognize that many of these societal issues are interrelated
- Departments need to engage in cross departmental planning to develop a strategy
- A multi departmental strategy will then enable budget development to support the strategy
Developing a Comprehensive Strategy – a United ‘City AND Provincial Plan’
- The City and Province need a comprehensive strategy – a unified front – a PLAN on how to work together to address these issues.
- The City and Province need to work together to develop the plan, and not have one forced on the other.
- There are many plans, many good plans (see some listed below) . . . but again, from my observations, everyone, in departments and government is still operating in a silo-based approach and not uniting to form a united plan – to maximize the resources of each level of government.
- An independent review of what programs exist, who is delivering what (NGO’s & governments) and how can they be pulled together in a more focused approach to produce the outcomes / goals we want to see over time is needed.
United Strong Leadership
- No one level of government can solve these issues.
- We need strong leadership from the Premier of Manitoba and the Mayor of Winnipeg, to put work together to take action – together.
- We are a Province of only ~ 1.3 million people, and a city of ~ 833,000 which in my opinion is a small population that should be able to come together – under strong leadership.
- I’ve not seen a lot of unitedness within the City and Province in my two terms, but I remain optimistic.
Resources & Governmental Responsibilities
- From my observations, there is currently a scattered and fragmented approach to social services.
- There are many Non-Governmental Organizations receiving funding, some are delivering incredible results, others not so much.
- The City of Winnipeg has an ~ $1 billion operating budget – to run the entire City of Winnipeg. See 2022 Operating Budget Allocations.
- The Province of Manitoba, has an ~ $8 billion* budget in departments that primarily deal with poverty, homelessness, addiction (families, health and mental health, wellness and recovery and housing).
- The City of Winnipeg does not have a health department. Delivering health and housing is a Provincial responsibility. The City can support and does support health and housing (see Reports below) but delivering social programs and housing is first and foremost a Provincial responsibly.
- The City of Winnipeg is the only level of government that provides 24 x 7 support through the Winnipeg Police Service and Winnipeg Fire Paramedics Service – which is causing huge strains on budgets, and core services Winnipeg is required to deliver.
Crime Prevention through Social Development
- Currently there is a constant reactive approach vs proactive approach.
- Crime prevention through social development is an evidence-based approach to address social issues and get to the root causes
- This is the principle behind crime prevention through social development: promoting well-being through social, health, and educational measures. Such international authorities as the United Nations (2002) agree that CPTSD is effective, particularly with children and youth.
- I strongly believe we need to enable and support this approach through the Winnipeg Police Services and will be posting more shortly.
City of Winnipeg:
Province of Manitoba
- Province is Developing a Homelessness Strategy – projected to be released in April 2022
*Province of Manitoba – Operating Budget Department Specific:
- Families $2,146,272
- Health and Seniors Care $6,048,522
- Mental Health, Wellness and Recovery $341,903
*Province of Manitoba 2021 Estimates of Expenditure
Entire City of Winnipeg 2022 Operating Budget $ 1,194,600