Réseau Compassion Network is proud to announce an innovative new housing project slated to break ground in St. Boniface in early 2022. Les Suites Marion is a 48-unit, five-storey building that will be much more than a place to live. “The lack of safe, affordable housing is a crisis in Winnipeg,” admits CEO Daniel Lussier. “It’s even more of a crisis for people with disabilities, newcomers to Canada, Indigenous people and those struggling with mental health and addictions.”
The building, which will be located at 156 Marion Street, will see 20 of its suites designated as affordable housing (with the rest rented at market rate), but most importantly, those who live in those suites will do so with the wrap-around supports they need to thrive.
“It’s an incredible opportunity for a whole number of different reasons,” explains the CEO of Sara Riel, Tara Snider. “There’s nothing quite like this in Winnipeg: this mix of private housing with those who need supports. It’s the way to go forward.”
Sara Riel, St.Amant and Abri Marguerite will all have access to a portion of the suites so that those they support will have not only housing, but important wrap-around services. “At Sara Riel, we have a community mentorship support program which includes things like skills for daily living, grocery lists, finances, or help scheduling and getting to appointments,” continues Snider. “For our participants, some days are tougher than others, but we make sure they’re going to get the support that they need.”
Snider also sees an opportunity to increase the supports some individuals receive. “Maybe we could provide life skill supports to newcomer families who are working with Abri Marguerite, or mental health services to someone who receives services at St.Amant. Who knows what else this will lead to, and what other ways we can collaborate.”
Réseau Compassion Network is uniquely placed to be able to spearhead the development. While the organization made this project possible by providing the land and the initial project funding, a partnership with the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation was the last piece required to make this development a reality. With an anticipated possession date sometime in early 2023, the suites can’t be ready soon enough.
“When we purchased this land from the Red River Church, we told them we would do our best to create housing, but it’s taken years for everything to fall into place,” admits Lussier. “There are advocates who have working on affordable housing with wrap-around supports for decades and we are so thankful for their work. It’s been the foundation of what we’re creating.”
“There’s a housing crunch that’s coming, and changes coming to residential care homes, too,” adds Snider. “This couldn’t be more timely. It’s truly going to change lives.”