An explosion that killed a man in a temporary encampment is sparking conversations about housing priorities.
On Tuesday morning, a fire broke out following the explosion caused by aerosols, igniting a temporary structure. After arriving on the scene, fire crews found one person dead.
End Homelessness Winnipeg says the death is a tragedy and is calling all levels of government and community members to make housing a top priority.
"Deepest condolences to all friends, family and community members impacted by this loss," they say in a statement.
The group says last June, they released, Kíkininaw Óma, a strategy to support people living in encampments or experiencing unsheltered homelessness.
End Homelessness Winnipeg says since the document was shared, there have been numerous fires requiring the help of fire crews at encampments across the city.
"While outreach workers and first responders work tirelessly to conduct ongoing engagement, education and prevention efforts with unsheltered individuals and encampment residents, yesterday’s fire demonstrates that these lifesaving efforts are simply not enough."
The group says there are gaps in Winnipeg's housing plans that need immediate addressing.
"We must not lose sight of the underlying urgent need for housing: a basic human right, and a matter of life and death."
In December, the province announced $154.6 million over the course of eight years would be used to help secure housing.
This money would focus on:
• young adults who are transitioning out of, or have recently aged out of, the child welfare system
• people who are, or are at risk of becoming, homeless
• individuals dealing with mental health or addiction issues and living in designated supportive housing buildings
Over $17.5 million of that fund is set to be used by the end of 2021.