Winnipeg's executive committee votes 6-1 against the dismantlement of the shelters in front of the Kildonan Place Mall.

Yesterday, in a near-unanimous decision the Executive Policy Committee (EPC) decided that terminating the bus shelters was not the correct move to battle the homeless crisis in Winnipeg.

Back on May 25, the East Kildonan-Transcona Community Committee passed the motion to remove the bus shelters and earlier this month, the Standing Policy Committee on Infrastructure Renewal and Public Works (IRPW) agreed with the motion.

The Executive Director of the North End Women's Centre (NEWC), Cynthia Drebot, released a statement to be on the record with the meeting held yesterday.

"North End Women's Centre opposes the motion to remove infrastructure from bus stops in Winnipeg as moved forward by Councillor Shawn Nason and the majority of the IRPW committee on June 9th, 2022," the statement says. "Evidence-based solutions, like safe consumption sites, adequate shelter and transitional housing are needed. Community-based research has proven these responses increase both community and individual safety, while the dismantling of bus shelters does not. This response is punitive, fear-based and a totally unnecessary response to poverty and homelessness in our city."

Along with the NEWC, a joint statement was sent to be put on record by End Homelessness Winnipeg, Inclusion Winnipeg, Cerebral Palsy Association of Manitoba, Main Street Project, and many more.

"Research indicated that more than two-thirds of those experiencing homelessness in Winnipeg are Indigenous: survivors of legacies of colonization and cultural genocide including Residential Schools and Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and Two-Spirit people," says the joint statement. "More than half of people experiencing homelessness in Winnipeg have been in the care of Child and Family Services, meaning they are also survivors of family separation, abuse and neglect. More than half of people experiencing have traumatic brain injuries. Nearly half are living with physical and/or mental health disabilities."

The single vote in favour of the dismantlement came from Council member, Jeff Browaty, who did not agree with the initiative, but thought that some action needed to be taken for the short term.

The next council meeting will be held on June 23 for further discussion on the motion.