City briefs

More SANE staffing shortages

Four casual nurses have resigned from the sexual-assault nurse examiner (SANE) program amid a major staffing crisis. The program received $642,000 in funding to expand and hire a manager and more full-time nurses. However, due to a shortage of nurses, survivors have been sent home since January and told not to wipe themselves or shower to preserve evidence until they can see a nurse examiner. Others wait hours in the emergency room until they can be examined.

New expansion of missing-persons response unit

The Winnipeg Police Service reported 9,315 missing-persons incidents in 2022. As a part of the provincial government’s violent-crimes strategy, the WPS is receiving $2.1 million in funding to expand their Manitoba Integrated Missing Persons Response unit. The WPS and its missing persons coordinators will be the centralized intake for the province-wide reporting system. Currently, there are eight coordinators, but the plan is to hire four more.

Funding for Velma’s House

The provincial government is providing $1.5 million in annual funding for Velma’s House, which is a 24/7 Indigenous-led centre supporting sexually exploited women, non-binary folks and survivors of gender-based violence. The centre offers free meals, resources and shelter, including hygiene supplies, laundry and shower facilities, employment counselling and housing and healthcare support. The project is operated by Ka Ni Kanichihk, an Indigenous-led organization providing education, job-skills training and mentorship.

NDP promising free birth control

The provincial NDP is promising free birth-control options for Manitobans if they’re successful in the provincial election this October. Manitoba would be the second province, after British Columbia, to offer universal birth-control coverage. The plan would cost the NDP $11 million per year and cover prescriptions and over-the-counter birth-control methods such as the morning-after pill, hormonal injections, copper and hormonal intrauterine devices and oral contraceptives. The plan wouldn’t cover condoms.

Changes to camping reservation system

On Monday, March 27, is launching a new campsite-booking system. People are encouraged to take note of their favourite sites, as they will be required to create a new account on the new website in order to book a reservation. Bookings for cabins, yurts and group areas open on April 3, and bookings for campsites in the northern and western areas of the province open on April 5. Campers can make reservations for spaces at Birds Hill, Winnipeg Beach, the Whiteshell and Nopiming, among other parks, in early to mid-April.

Prioritizing safety at the Millennium Library

Millennium for All, a group of Winnipeggers advocating for more effective safety measures at the Millennium Library, is calling on the City’s executive policy committee to reopen the library’s Community Connections space. It offered free snacks, shelter, mental-health and addiction services and trauma-informed care, which the group says improved safety conditions at the library, as opposed to the current metal-detector screenings and on-site police officers. Reopening the space would require hiring a librarian, library assistant, social worker, three more full-time employees and four more community-safety hosts.

Published in Volume 77, Number 23 of The Uniter (March 23, 2023)

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