$120,000 From Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries Increases Downtown BIZ Homeless Outreach From 3 To 5 Employees


January 13, 2016


Downtown Winnipeg – An investment of $120,000 from Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries will support the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ’s Community Homeless Assistance Team (CHAT) in 2016, growing its current staff complement from 3 to 5. CHAT undertakes outreach to vulnerable populations – people who experience homelessness and/or mental health and addiction issues. Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries’ funding will increase current case management from 120 to 220 clients. Since its inception in 2012 to the end of 2014, CHAT has housed 67 homeless individuals. In 2015 alone, 43 individuals were connected to stable housing, that is, a 156% increase in assistance. The overall goal is to elevate CHAT staff size to 8.

“Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries is proud to increase its funding for the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ’s Community Homeless Assistance Team,” said Minister Ron Lemieux, who is responsible for Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries. “CHAT addresses the complex needs of those experiencing homelessness or who are at risk of homelessness with a spirit of dignity and respect, and connects them with vital support services.”

CHAT outreach workers pursue a unique and proactive approach that addresses the diverse barriers and complexities faced by the homeless population. CHAT aims to help facilitate individual transition from homelessness to enhanced stability – inclusive of housing, employment, culturally relevant services, and educational support.

“The unfortunate reality of homelessness often presents a negative perception of downtown from a health and safety perspective,” said Stefano Grande, Executive Director of the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ. “With CHAT, the conditions of those living on the streets are thoroughly addressed and can be overcome which can lead to a socially inclusive, economically prosperous city. When basic needs are met, people can become productive agents for change in their own lives and in the city, improving theirs and others’ health and safety.”

“Faced with a growing housing crisis and limited avenues for social service advancement, CHAT continues to forge ahead in the spirit of compassion and commitment to bring about positive change in the lives of our city’s homeless,” said Christy Stewner-Kornaga, Outreach Coordinator for CHAT. “CHAT’s strength-based approach has helped many chronically-homeless individuals find a stable, permanent home. We work closely with our clients to ensure a positive outcome that is reflective of their own aspirations, hopes, and dreams.”

Stewner-Kornaga added: “Through strengthened partnerships with landlords, Employment Income Assistance, and other service providers, we are able to secure affordable housing for our participants in addition to provision of meaningful ‘wrap-around’ care and supports.”

To learn more about CHAT and the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ’s homelessness alleviation efforts, visit: http://downtownwinnipegbiz.com/programs-services/homelessness-assistance/.

– 30 –

Jason Syvixay, Managing Director
Phone: (204) 958-4635; Email: jason@downtownwinnipegbiz.com