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Speak up for co-op housing in Manitoba election 2023

Published September 01, 2023

October 3 is election day – get out the vote in your co-op!

Manitobans head to the polls on October 3! We need you to speak up so that co-ops are part of the conversation in this upcoming provincial election.

Did you know that there are 54 housing co-operatives in Manitoba, with more than 3,000 homes? Co-op housing creates affordable, sustainable communities – exactly what more Manitoban households need in the growing housing crisis.

You will find here:

  • Video of webinar, Make housing matter in the Manitoba election
  • The issues
  • Taking action
  • Election and voting information

CHF Canada is working with the Manitoba Non-Profit Housing Association to make affordable housing a campaign issue in the upcoming provincial election. To spark this conversation, join us at our webinar to explore speaking up for co-op and non-profit housing.

WEBINAR September 14: Make housing matter in the Manitoba election

On September 14, affordable housing advocates joined CHF Canada and Manitoba Non-Profit Housing Association (MNPHA) to discuss actions to make affordable housing a campaign issue in the provincial election. Watch the panel discussion here.

The issues

For over 50 years, co-ops have provided good quality, affordable housing owned and managed by the community members who live there. Manitobans, particularly those struggling with to keep up with rising costs of living, would benefit from more affordable housing options – such as housing co-ops.

CHF Canada urges all political parties and their candidates to support increasing the supply of affordable, non-profit and co-op housing, and support rental assistance programs for low-income households.

We have two main policy recommendations for the next provincial government that would make a positive impact on the future of housing co-ops in Manitoba:

  1. Support new development of co-op and non-profit housing in Manitoba, through dedicated funding or assets (e.g. providing provincial land)
  2. Stabilize rental assistance for residents of co-ops and non-profit housing

(Scroll down for more detail on these issues.)

Take action

  • Make a plan to vote on October 3
  • Call, email, or tag your local candidates on social media
  • Vote for the candidate who will best support co-op housing.

Ask your candidates

  1. How will you work with the co-operative and non-profit housing sector to increase the supply of affordable housing?
  2. How will you commit to stabilizing rental assistance for low-income households?

Co-op housing creates communities where people can thrive. The co-op housing sector is ready to work together with the provincial government and social housing partners towards more affordable, co-operative homes.

Coral Hetherington, CHF Canada Board Director (Winnipeg, Manitoba)

Helpful resources

Elections Manitoba (voter registration, where to vote, your local candidates)

Provincial political party websites

Housing recommendations from partner organizations

More details on our recommendations

Dive deeper into our policy recommendations:

  • Support new development of co-op and non-profit housing in Manitoba, through dedicated funding or assets (e.g. provision of provincial land)

The new Co-operative Housing Development Program (CHDP), announced in the April 2022 federal budget, will spur the construction of new co-op homes. As we continue to work with the federal government and CMHC on that funding program, we continue to advocate for additional funding or assets at other levels of government that make it possible to grow the co-op housing sector. We would be happy to see the Province of Manitoba develop a similar fund for the construction of co-operative and affordable housing.

We also recognize the Province has played a pivotal role in recent co-op housing developments, such as through the provision of land leased for Old Grace Housing Co-op in Winnipeg. This practice should continue, so that non-profit housing providers can keep working with the provincial government to explore new opportunities to create affordable, safe, and inclusive homes and communities for Manitobans.

  • Stabilize rental assistance for low-income households living in co-op and non-profit housing

The co-op housing sector is committed to providing affordable housing in Manitoba’s communities. The Province continues to review the assistance needs of low-income co-op members on a case-by-case basis. While this is a good step, it has fostered a lot of uncertainty for low-income households. Without a full reliable program available, the financial pressures on vulnerable households remain, as they are left wondering how they will pay their rent. We would like to see stability and long-term sufficient funding, either through the block funding model, or through a long-term rental assistance program, that is available to all co-op and non-profit providers.

Currently, Manitoba Housing has allocated up to $1.4 million towards new agreements for 2023-2024 through a block funding model, that can go towards subsidizing rent, meeting the rising costs of operations, or support an annual allocation to the replacement reserve fund. Stable funding will help to ensure more affordable options are available for Manitobans. Alongside the Manitoba Non-Profit Housing Association (MNPHA), CHF Canada has worked with Manitoba Housing to explore the new proposed block funding model. We also recently participated in a consultation with the Manitoba Social Innovation Office on financing for affordable housing projects.

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