The Downtown BIZ and our members believe that working towards long-term solutions to social issues like homelessness are essential for our downtown and city to thrive.
It is estimated that there are anywhere from 3,000 to 15,000 homeless people in Winnipeg. Projects like the Bell Hotel, Madison Lodge, the conversion of the Occidental Hotel to Red Road Lodge, are making a difference in addressing this complex and intricate community issue. 500 chronically homeless people with mental illnesses were housed via At Home/Chez Soi, a provincial/federal pilot program that provided supportive housing.
The BIZ has taken a leadership role in advocating for a permanent solution to homelessness, through the CEO Sleepout, an annual fundraising event that has engaged and mobilized the corporate community to rally around housing initiatives and employment programs for the homeless. Since 2011, the BIZ has raised over $400,000 to hire over 30 of our city’s less fortunate to work downtown. The CEO Sleepout served as a catalyst for the creation of the Winnipeg Poverty Reduction Council’s Task Force to End Homelessness.
Our current programs range from fundraising for employment to running preventative outreach programs. They are: