Current Research Projects at SNA
The Collective Impact of Neighbourhood Renewal Corporations of Manitoba
Neighbourhood Renewal Corporations have evolved for almost 20 years to respond to the unique needs of each neighbourhood to build healthy communities, safe environments, and connected neighbours. #InvestinCommunity. Learn more about the impact NRCs have had in Manitoba by clicking here.
Spence neighbourhood, the area of the inner-city bounded by Portage Avenue, Balmoral Street, Notre Dame Avenue, and Sherbrook Street, was, relatively recently, a neighbourhood in serious decline. Between 1991 and 1996, two out of every three Spence residents left the area. By 1999, the median selling price of a house in the area was $16,500, giving Spence the lowest property values of any Winnipeg neighbourhood. Poverty was on the increase: in 2001, 62.8 per cent of households in Spence lived below the low-income cut-off (LICO), while 92.7 per cent of Aboriginal families in Spence lived below the LICO in 1996.
This is a look at the state of one neighbourhood, and how it is changing. It is about who has been responsible for this change, and what patterns have been set in motion. It is a study about who has the power to initiate change, what groups lack this power, and how they can achieve it. This is a study of who loses and who benefits from neighbourhood change, and how a more equitable future can be achieved for these groups.
This is an attempt to answer two questions:
1) What is the rate that Aboriginal Community Members in the Spence Neighbourhood are participating in
2) How do Aboriginal Community Members define themselves in community programs and what they would like to
see in the future.
Low-income neighbourhoods and large institutions can make uncomfortable bedfellows. They are, however, found together in many urban centres due to the ‘sticky capital’ character of hospitals and educational institutions, and the ways in which the neighbourhoods where they reside have evolved in the face of suburban expansion and inner-city decline. Winnipeg is no exception.
The inner city suddenly becomes important to politicians during elections.
Some political parties choose to focus solely on crime and fear. The approach they take is punitive, shaped, we believe, from a lack of understanding of how complex challenges really are.
Others have a better grasp of the issues. They know that while some people ought to be imprisoned, putting ever more people in prison is not a solution. In the long run what will work is preventing crime. This of necessity means continuing the long, patient process of poverty reduction, and creating educational and employment opportunities for inner-city people. That process has been underway over the past decade, and it is working.
On March 10, 2011, the Standing Committee on Property and Development recommended a move of $500,000 from the Housing Rehabilitation Investment Reserve (HRIR) to the Home Renovation Tax Assistance Program, despite years of calls from housing and community organisations for increased funding to the HRIR. Although the recommendation was not passed, this move calls attention to the vulnerability of the funding intended to support housing rehabilitation and development in Winnipeg’s inner city.
Since 2000, SEED Winnipeg, a community economic development agency has been helping low-income families save to purchase homes. The SEED program, which is supported by the Manitoba government, the United Way, Investors Group, an anonymous donour, and individual contributors is based on the idea that wealth generation—or asset building—is an important step in moving
families out of poverty.
On November 12th, 2010, the federal government announced an investment of $45 million to increase the number of beds in Manitoba jails. Steven Harper’s Conservative government has made it well known that getting tough on crime is a top priority. While there is evidence that crime rates in Canada are lower than they have been in decades, it is also true that violent crime remains a very real problem and especially so in neighbourhoods with high rates of poverty. The correlation between crime and poverty tells us that attending to the root causes of crime is an essential component of a crime reduction strategy. Yet the Harper plan centres on an increase in punitive measures as a method of deterring criminal behaviour, while at the same time cutting funding for successful crime prevention programs. This move is contrary to a long list of longitudinal research posted on the federal governments website that shows crime prevention through social development to be effective.
Defining the focus of the 6th State of the Inner City Report unfolded as it does every year. We began the process by meeting with representatives from various organizations working in the inner city. Some of our partners have participated in the State of the Inner City since we began the process in early 2005. Others have more recently become involved. What has been consistent each and every year is that the individuals and organizations who have contributed are deeply committed to improving the quality of life for individuals and families living and working in the inner city.
On Wednesday, September 29th the CCPA–MB launched its latest report at the Freight House. The launch was part of a one-day conference entitled “Building Positive Relationships” organized by the Coalition of Community-Based Youth-Serving Agencies (CCBYSA).
When the Community Research Hub agreed to research and prepare a report on food, the first question we had to determine was what would the report be about? Through a lengthy collaborative and cooperative approach described in the pages that follow, we decided we were uniquely equipped, by the very fact of our membership, to research the realities of food for people with low incomes. The methodology section of this report describes how we decided a narrative approachwas our best approach to doing this. Because we are people on low incomes ourselves, we decided we could reach out through our own natural networks of people to find people who would be willing to talk about the realities they face. Because we were trusted by these people, we felt they would be honest in telling their stories. In return, we felt it was important to respect and honour their stories and their struggles by honestly reporting their details, not just conducting a survey and consolidating the results.
See page 64 for a review of revitalization in Spence Neighbourhood over time, with a review of three main actors- Spence Neighbourhood Association, the University of Winnipeg, and private landlords/property developers; and the impacts of these actors over time.
The Sherbrook Pool is a key neighbourhood resource, that has, over time, been threatened with closure. This report reviews its history in the neighbourhood, shows that the benefits of investment in recreation far outweigh the costs, and makes a number of recommendations for the pool going forward based on community input.
Neighbourhood renewal corporations like Spence Neighbourhood Association and West Broadway Development Corporation produce important results in marginalized neighbourhoods, providing a vehicle for residents to design and own the changes that will benefit their families and their community. They are also complex, often fragile organizations, with broad mandates and tight budgets. This paper explores the complexity and the impact, and makes recommendations to strengthen and sustain our work at the neighbourhood level. To read more, click here.