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Manitoba’s second annual Human Rights Symposium on Homelessness and Poverty

Over one hundred advocates and community members from various backgrounds recently gathered at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Manitoba along with Al Wiebe, the organizer, for the second annual Human Rights Symposium on Homelessness and Poverty.

Al Wiebe never thought that he would be an advocate for the homeless before he experienced it for himself. At one point, he went from driving around donating food to the homeless during the holidays in his Mercedes to living in his car after losing everything. Wiebe says that when homeless, there are multiple barriers like discrimination to moving forward in a person’s life. There is a need to have a bigger conversation about the homelessness issue, he adds.

It was only through the intervention of his doctor that Wiebe managed to escape homelessness, receiving psychiatric treatment and eventually finding stable housing. Having lived through the horrific experience, Wiebe began advocating the need for the construction of stable and affordable housing in Winnipeg and believes that the key to addressing homelessness in the city is working from the bottom of the economic ladder up, instead of lifting the middle class.

The second annual symposium featured over a dozen speakers, including those from charitable organizations, people who have experienced homelessness, and city councillors, all exploring practical solutions for chronic homelessness. The participants also agreed that taking advice from those who have experienced homelessness is the right way to start addressing chronic homelessness.

Addressing homelessness begins with raising awareness for the root causes to comprehend its complexities. By shedding light on the issue and uncovering its underlying factors, the Human Rights Symposium hopes to help pave the way for effective solutions and compassionate action.

Source: Winnipeg Free Press