The Manitoba government will provide an annual grant of $355,000 to the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) to operate 26 overnight beds at the Oscar’s Place shelter to support continued protection of vulnerable populations in The Pas and surrounding areas, Families Minister Rochelle Squires announced today.
“Oscar’s Place operates at full or close-to-full capacity every night and is an important resource that many vulnerable people in The Pas rely on,” said Squires. “Our government will continue to work with local stakeholders to develop a long-term sustainable approach to keeping the facility open for the protection of vulnerable individuals in and around that community.”
The minister noted the funding will enable the facility to operate for 14 hours overnight, an increase from the current 12-hour operation, and will support the delivery of programming through applications to Reaching Home, Canada’s Homelessness Strategy.
“We are honoured to partner with the Manitoba government to expand our service delivery in The Pas and surrounding areas by assuming oversight and administration for Oscar’s Place,” said James Wigley, executive director, CMHA Parkland and The Pas Region (Swan Valley Branch). “Providing a safe and stable place of rest for our communities’ more vulnerable individuals, when they need it, is an important basic need that must be met.”
Oscar’s Place is the only emergency shelter in the region and serves the surrounding community.
“On behalf of the Town of The Pas, we are pleased and excited to see the changes being implemented at Oscar’s Place,” said Mayor Herb Jacques, The Pas. “The CMHA has a good reputation when it comes to these types of challenges, and we look forward to seeing what they have in mind for our community and the people that make use of Oscar’s Place.”
Since last November, provincial employees have provided staffing support to Oscar’s Place in response to an outbreak of COVID-19. The minister acknowledged concerned community members who formed Stand Up for Oscar’s Place (SUOP) to take over responsibility for the shelter and prevent its closure.
“We thank SUOP for its hard work and advocacy in keeping Oscar’s Place open to support vulnerable populations in The Pas and the surrounding region,” said Squires.