Winnipeg’s Community-Based Organizations’ Responses to COVID-19

Katharina Maier, University of Winnipeg

In Winnipeg’s inner-city, there exist a plethora of community-based organizations (CBOs) that build the capacities of residents and neighbourhoods. These organizations provide essential resources to inner-city communities, often acting as mediators between residents and the systems that shape (and sometimes exacerbate) marginalization. This research examines the everyday emergencies in Winnipeg’s inner city within the global crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic, focusing on how CBOs have responded, and continue to respond, to the needs of the people they serve within the context of COVID-19.

Specifically, we ask: What are some of the challenges, strategies, and supports that have become visible during these times? What are the current limitations of federal, provincial and municipal policy in addressing basic needs and the pandemic response and what is needed to ensure a sustainable, healthy, inner city within the realities of COVID 19? Through partnerships with CBOs in Winnipeg, this research provides an opportunity to deepen understandings of the differential social and economic impacts of COVID-19 through the lens of emergency preparedness. In the fall, we conducted 30 (remote) in-depth interviews with 21 different inner-city organizations, from youth serving organizations to family centres to community health centres.

We are currently completing the “community consultation” phase of the research; i.e., getting written and verbal comments from CBOs on the results and interpretation of our data to-date, and will then proceed further analysis of the date.

This research is conducted in collaboration with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA, Manitoba Office) and Dr. Sarah Cooper at the University of Manitoba. Some of the findings will be published in the 2020 State of the Inner-City Report—an annual report published by the CCPA MB.

Funder:  Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives Manitoba Office in research phase

Contact: Katharina Maier

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