Community Homeless Assistance Team Bolstered by Mayor Brian Bowman

Today, Mayor Brian Bowman commended the success of the Community Homeless Assistance Team (CHAT) and confirmed the City of Winnipeg’s commitment of $150,000 to support additional outreach workers.

"I’m proud we have been able to invest in the great work the Community Homeless Assistance Team has accomplished on our city streets," said Mayor Brian Bowman. "The CHAT program’s proactive approach has been making a positive difference by helping to put individuals on track for success."

CHAT Outreach Workers pursue a unique, preventative outreach approach that addresses the dynamic barriers and complexities faced by the homeless population in order to link those in need with individual and culturally relevant service. CHAT Outreach Workers facilitate individual transition from homelessness to enhanced stability – inclusive of housing, employment and educational support, as required.

CHAT Outreach Workers can be identified on the street by their name badges, and will work in collaboration with other agencies in order to ensure a meaningful approach is employed that complements all service provider efforts in supporting this vulnerable population.

"We know that the cycle of despair often felt by our city’s homeless can only be addressed through sustained social intervention," said Stefano Grande, Chief Executive Officer of the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ. "Our goal is to forge and help evolve stronger relationships, helping people who are homeless or at risk transition into healthier lives, through continued outreach. The Downtown Winnipeg BIZ feels strongly that by addressing the visible presence of homelessness, by helping people comprehensively off the street and into a better place, we will be able to break down barriers and create a more tolerant city."

"Many of our city’s homeless fall through the traditional social and health service cracks. Some live on riverbanks year-round, others move from place to place to keep warm and safe. Some are often banned from social service agencies, either by choice or no fault of their own," said Shawn Matthews, Manager of Safety and Development at the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ. "We use a strength-based approach. Instead of focusing on what people ‘need’, we focus on what that person is able to bring to the table. What is their goal in life? What skills do they want to hone in on? What kind of living situation do they want to see? We work closely with our clients to ensure a positive outcome that is reflective of their own aspirations and hopes."

To date, the CHAT program has successfully connected over 150 individuals to housing (since 2013), helped house more than 50 people (since January 2016), and facilitated over 1,500 connections to support services for those experiencing chronic homelessness (since 2013).