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Homelessness Unveiled Winnipeg’s Journey to Change

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According to a recent national report, Manitoba continues to have the highest child poverty rate among all provinces in Canada, with a percentage of 20.68; this rate is 7.21 per cent higher than the national average. This implies that over 64,000 children in Manitoba are living in poverty.

Why does Manitoba remain one of the most unfavourable provinces regarding child poverty, and what actions must our community take to create better outcomes for children living in poverty? Today we discuss these and other questions with Michael RedHead Champagne. He is a public speaker, writer, community advocate and educator.

Michael explains why Manitoba once again has the highest rate of child poverty in Canada.

“There is a lack of significant efforts to support children and families in this province. Just looking at the Child and Family Services System, we can see that there are thousands of children in our child welfare system, highlighting the problem we currently face in Manitoba in caring for children in a meaningful way. It is quite frustrating to witness the lack of progress.”

To address child poverty, it is important to understand the contributing factors. According to Michael, the main cause of child poverty in Winnipeg is indifference or apathy.

“To end child poverty, we need to start applying an equity lens to our work. This means allocating the most attention and resources to those in the most dire situations. Currently, our provincial government tends to issue one-time financial payments that go to everyone, regardless of income. I believe that if we were to apply an equity lens to resource distribution in the province, we could ensure that those with less have access to the most resources,” says Michael.

We can see from the most recent Winnipeg Street census that the average age at which people in Winnipeg experience homelessness is eighteen. These individuals are often aging out of the child welfare system. While Manitoba is putting effort into raising awareness with orange t-shirts and hashtags that say ‘every child matters,’ Michael believes that it is crucial to focus on providing basic needs for struggling youth.

– Yuliia Kovalenko, U Multicultural

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