On Wednesday, November 22, the City of Winnipeg unveiled its 2018 Budget. It passed a Council vote on Tuesday, December 12. See CCEDNet Manitoba’s pre-budget consultations submission here. Most of CCEDNet Manitoba’s policy priorities for the City of Winnipeg are administrative (such as a social procurement or living wage policy), so they don’t get clearly reflected in budget. However, crucial issues for communities related to our policy priorities are directly affected by this budget.
Safe and affordable housing is essential for participating in local communities and the economy. This is why CCEDNet Manitoba members such as the Right to Housing Coalition have been advocating for policy that supports the development of affordable housing. CCEDNet Manitoba is working with the Right to Housing Coalition to understand what the 2018 Budget will mean for social and affordable housing in Winnipeg.
Poverty reduction remains one of CCEDNet Manitoba’s key policy areas. Our central recommendation in this year’s City of Winnipeg budget submission was a call for a comprehensive Winnipeg poverty reduction strategy.
Budget 2018 includes the following with respect to poverty reduction:
- The City will propose new and ongoing investments to build complete neighbourhoods, strengthen community amenities, and review the governance structure at City Hall including:
- $150,000 to continue the Community Homeless Assistance Program (CHAT);
- Fourth year of a 5 year annual commitment of $150,000 towards the United Way’s Plan to End Homelessness;
- $12,000 increase in transfer from Housing Reserve for Homelessness Partnering Strategy.
While we appreciate these actions, alone they cannot achieve reduction or elimination of poverty in Winnipeg. CCEDNet Manitoba will continue to advocate the City of Winnipeg co-develop a comprehensive poverty reduction strategy with community stakeholders.
Neighbourhood Renewal Corporations
CCEDNet Manitoba’s membership includes community-led organizations tackling complex community challenges such as unemployment, urban and rural decline, poverty, social exclusion and environmental degradation. Much of these organization’s programming requires granted money. The 2018 Budget commits $772,000 for social grants (given to community organizations to provide a service that the City of Winnipeg would otherwise need to provide in support of safe and healthy neighbourhoods). This represents a slight decrease from the $782,000 that was allocated to social grants in the 2017 Budget.
CCEDNet Manitoba will continue to advocate that the City of Winnipeg leverage the already created 5-year plans and expertise of the Neighbourhood Renewal Corporations (NRCs) within its jurisdiction. These community-based organizations work closely with communities to address their challenges, and inherently contribute to achieving the goals in OurWinnipeg. Funding and closely consulting with NRCs could strongly support the City of Winnipeg’s in accomplishing its OurWinnipeg goals.
Food security and food programming has emerged as an important issue over the last few years for several of CCEDNet Manitoba’s members, such as Food Matters Manitoba. While the City of Winnipeg has created a Winnipeg Food Council and appointed ten members to it on June 21, 2017, there is no specific mention in the 2018 Budget of a financial commitment to the council. CCEDNet Manitoba’s policy resolution focused on food councils asks the City of Winnipeg to commit $175,000 annually to operate the Winnipeg Food Council.