One of the affordable housing properties Central Community Housing has taking ownership of.One of the affordable housing properties Central Community Housing has taken ownership of (submitted)

Central Community Housing, formerly named Winkler Affordable Housing, has hit the pause button on a planned affordable housing project adjacent to Central Station.

Planning and designing of the multi-unit structure began in the spring of 2021 after the City of Winkler received a grant of around $1-million from Manitoba Housing.
Central Community Housing Board Chair, James Friesen says, however, estimates came in too high, at roughly $6-million.

“We worked together with WBS and Vern Reimer Architects as well, in terms of can we reduce the cost of the bill. Where can we save money? We went through that exercise. We worked hard at it, and the numbers still came in too high for us, for our budget right now."

Although that plan is on hold for right now, that is not stopping them from looking at other options to try to address the affordable housing needs in the community. He notes there's a lot of creative developers and builders doing what they can to try and close the gap between the people who are least able to afford housing to market rent. 

Friesen notes their job with Central Community Homes, together with Central Station, is to try and address the needs of the individuals who are at risk of homelessness, couch surfing, or need more significant support. "So that's our main focus."

Right now, the waiting list is the longest for single, individual housing. 

"It's easy for us to sometimes kick government under the bus when it comes to things like affordable housing, other initiatives, and so on," says Friesen. "But if you step back a little bit and look at it, ultimately it is our responsibility as a community to provide something core like housing. And so we're taking that to heart. We're saying, no, we're responsible as a community to do this. We'll set up an organization to help that happen." 

Friesen says that gives the community something to attach to, it gives the government something to invest into. "You know, we take that seriously and I think it's a good model for a community to have." 

Central Community Housing also owns 26 affordable housing units, which were acquired from Manitoba Housing. Many of those require significant renovations, which Central Community Housing has been tackling over the last two years.

The following is an excerpt from Central Community Home's project manager's annual report. “At Central Community Homes or Winkler affordable housing, Our goal is to provide homes that our clients can be proud of," said Brad Adrian. "A good Home gives a stable platform from which they can pursue personal goals and improve their quality of life and our wrap-around approach offers many tools to assist them in achieving their goals.” “Many deteriorated houses have been transformed into beautiful homes this year. The last few months have gone a little slower than we had hoped due to trades and materials in a bit of a shortage but overall, we have exceeded our expectations. We currently have 9 units that we are working on. We are hoping to wrap those ones and have clients in them, early in the new year. We have completed 30 units so far and have 19 more that we have not started renovations. A lot of the units that are left to renovate are not in as good shape and the ones we have already completed will be less costly. We are also very excited that Mend the Gap has started redoing a Christmas house again.”