There is a desperate shortage of decent, affordable housing in Winnipeg’s inner city. The 30 units of student family housing is a much needed response to that longstanding problem. These 30 units will remove an important barrier to educational attainment for a significant number of students with families. Thus they are a central component of the holistic and strategic approach to education in the North End that Merchants Corner represents.
Merchants Corner will become a key component in what many of us are thinking of as a “North End Community Campus” on Selkirk Avenue. The North End Community Campus will include the University of Manitoba’s Inner City Social Work Program (which has produced 500 fully qualified social workers drawn from low-income circumstances over the past 30 years) at 485 Selkirk Avenue, Urban Circle Training Centre (perhaps Canada’s best Aboriginal adult education program) at 519 Selkirk Avenue, and the Makoonsag Intergenerational Childcare Centre, which offers priority to students with children, at 527 Selkirk Avenue.
When Merchants Corner is added into this mix, there will be multiple points of entry into adult and post-secondary education, along with the essential supports of childcare and affordable housing.