Authored by: Jess Klassen

Grant: Partnering for Change: Community-Based Solutions for Aboriginal and Inner-City Poverty - 2012-2019
Category: Housing and Neighbourhood Revitalization


This past weekend marked Canada’s National Housing Day. In recent history, housing in Canada hasn’t been a hopeful topic. In 1993 federal funds for new social housing development were cut and responsibility for social housing was devolved to the provinces. Provinces have since borne the brunt of filling this funding gap and, because provinces have less fiscal capacity than the feds, homelessness has increased.

Despite these odds, Winnipeg can boast a hopeful housing story in the case of WestEnd Commons. If one passes by the one hundred-year-old St. Matthews Anglican Church in Winnipeg’s West End, it appears that life is carrying on as usual. But inside, four floors of social and affordable housing are built within the walls of this historic church. One year ago, twenty-six diverse families moved in and are now enjoying safe and affordable housing. WestEnd Commons is also home to five faith communities and a social enterprise that rents space to community agencies. WestEnd Commons is an innovative, community-driven development with a vision to transform the building into a “collaborative community of hope, joy and strength.”

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