Winnipeg mayoral candidate Sean Loney says he will work to free up emergency services and provide better compensation to nonprofits for their work and deal with the homeless in the city if elected in October.
Speaking at a news conference on Main Street and Higgins Avenue on Monday, Loney said, “We are stuck with old thinking.
The entrepreneur, writer and former provincial environmental policy analyst pledged an “innovative strategy” that would identify the individuals whom emergency services routinely contact, determine the cash value of staff time used each year to respond to these individuals, and compensate designated nonprofits. For the value of skipped shipments.
The mayoral candidate says that when there is a crisis for homeless people, it can have a costly and sometimes useless – domino effect.
It starts with a call to 911 and ends with a trip to the emergency department, where a paramedic or police officer often sits with the patient for hours waiting for medical treatment.
The root causes of trauma, addiction and mental health problems go unnoticed in those situations, but Loni said his plan will help overcome them and help people access supportive housing and treatment.
“There are many avenues of humanity and low cost, such as supportive housing, addiction treatment and mental health services,” he said in the release.
If selected, Loni said he will work to ensure that bus shelters and riverside residents are provided with housing within a year, and that a second phase of housing is provided to people living in downtown.
Retired Winnipeg Police Officer Court Freesen expressed support for the homeless relief program in Loney’s announcement Monday.
“We have to give people what they need to live a good life,” Frieson said.
He says the police are not always the best people to answer certain calls.
“Whatever the trauma or enslavement or poverty or abuse or case of generations, it is the people who face the obstacles. So we need to think about who can best support those people.”
Loni is now one of 11 people who have registered to run for mayor. Others:
- Biosystems Engineer Idris Ademuiva Adolagun.
- Former Winnipeg Mayor Glenn Murray.
- Former Manitoba Liberal leader Rana Pokhari.
- Grocery store worker Chris Clacio.
- St. James Gown. Scott Gillingham.
- Former MP Robert-Balkan Olet.
- Forest Supply Owner Rick Sean.
- Security business owner Dan Woodstock.
- Business Consultant Jenny Motkeluk.
- Desmond Thomas.
Local elections Oct. 26.