Check out the documentary we are featured in!
Rooming Houses to Rooming Homes, funded by the CCPA-MB
Learn more about rooming houses in Winnipeg with these studies:
Institute of Urban Studies- Winnipeg’s Vanishing Rooming Houses
CCPA Manitoba- Rooming Houses to Rooming Homes
West Broadway is home to at least 72 rooming houses and more which are unlicensed. These buildings house hundreds of individuals characterized by income levels and many of these residents are marginalized by disability, addiction, language, racism or mental illness and are often one step removed from homelessness.
These buildings are over a hundred years old and have mounting structural problems: windows, roofs, foundations, plumbing systems, electrical systems, etc. are in grave need of repair.
Socially, rooming houses represent safety, acceptance and opportunity for many of the city’s ‘hardest to house’ individuals. However, a lack of support, social isolation and concentrated poverty leads to high levels of criminal victimization amongst tenants and puts a strain both on neighbours and on the community. As much as rooming houses can present grave challenges to a community, they remain an essential form of tenure.
RHOP began as a two-year pilot project in August 2012. It has been extended for another year.
For sustained, genuine improvements to be made to these buildings, both the structural integrity of rooming houses and the well-being of tenants must be addressed. Focusing solely on either aspect will ignore half of what is a very interconnected scenario. This program works with both tenants and landlords equally on improving the residence and their investment in the community.
RHOP operates on four pillars which we call the 4 ‘R’s of RHOP:
RHOP engages tenants in small scale fix-ups of their rooms and common areas
◦Painting/Patching walls and ceilings
◦Common area cleaning
These small scale fix-ups are supplemented by assisting the landlord to enroll in local property improvement programs (PIP), Provincial rehabilitation programs (RHIP), MB Hydro Efficiency programming, etc.
Winnipeg has an array of social services, which are not often accessed by the rooming house population for several reasons: intimidating, poor past experiences, transportation/mobility, lack of agency outreach, etc.
The program makes tenants aware of resources, makes referrals, accompanies tenants, provides transportation, reminds & encourages tenants, and even brings resources to their buildings.
RHOP also works with service providers to break down barriers to access by changing the ways some services are delivered.
◦RHOP works to create a community within the house through group activities, group meals, group decisions, events, etc.
◦RHOP works as a landlord liaison for communicating with some tenants, addressing issues within the building, and working to prevent evictions
◦Connect them with a network of landlords
◦RHOP encourages tenants to become involved in community events and programming, makes them aware, encourages & accompanies them, etc.
Rooming house tenants don’t have many opportunities to engage in recreational activities. RHOP provides these opportunities & removes barriers to living an active lifestyle. Group decisions are often made to decide what events/workshops to hold. Some examples include farm trips, volunteer outings, and art workshops. Tenant initiated ideas are always implemented.
Some Current Activities
Tenants pitch in to clean the common areas of their building with supplies provided by the program.
•Bed Bug Education Series
A two-part workshop is made available to tenants. Part 1 is education with the Community Bed Bug Prevention and Outreach Coordinator. Part
2 includes access to a high-powered vacuum, commercial steamer, interceptor traps and mattress covers. Assistance is given to tenants who choose to participate in these activities.
Through partnership with the WRHA, our program is able to provide access to the Healthy Aging Resource Team for tenants over the age of 40. Tenants have access to a nurse, an occupational therapist and social worker.
Tenants also have the opportunity to speak to a Registered Dietician during a Nutrition Workshop hosted by the WRHA.
•Tenant Initiated Events– such as yard clean-ups, bbqs, garden programming, beach trips, etc.
Through some supply donations from CLOVERDALE PAINT, we are able to work with tenants to patch and paint the walls of their room. Tenants choose a color they like and assist in the work that needs to be done to improve their suite
A laid-back time where tenants can discuss anything! Tenants and the coordinator meet in the common space with coffee and snacks to discuss issues, brainstorm solutions, learn about relevant resources, or anything else that may come up.
Is RHOP Working?
Some of our Results & Achievements!
20 rooms patched/painted
Four bathrooms patched/painted
One common kitchen patched/painted
Three damaged walls replaced
Three room doors & Three front doors replaced/reinforced
Patched three large holes in two ceilings
Eight Deadbolts, 13 Peepholes installed
Nine tenants received new identification
Four Tenants received permanent or temporary employment
Seven tenants received doctors (two were treated for undiagnosed cancers)
$20,000 leveraged for renovations
Four tenants certified in CPR/First Aid
Six tenants certified in Safe Food Handlers Training
Four previously unengaged landlords accessing services
Example of work done for the Paint-Your-Suite Program
Example of some minor fix-ups: