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An anti-poverty rally in Winnipeg is calling for action from the city and the province.

A rally marched from City Hall to the Legislature this afternoon.

Molly McCracken, who is on the steering committee for Make Poverty History Manitoba, listed five priority actions to combat poverty: a $15 minimum wage, 300 units of social or rent-to-geared housing, universal public child care, mental health and addictions supports, and a basic liveable income.

Jolene Wilson, a woman who has experienced homelessness and spoke at today’s rally, drew a connection between poverty and Winnipeg’s meth crisis.

“I know for a fact that because you’re homeless and you’re tired and you’re hungry, you know, you have very,very little money, maybe you have to panhandle – meth takes care of all of those things. It’s a strategy to – believe it or not – stay alive, especially here in Winnipeg in the colder, colder months,” said Wilson after the rally.

McCracken says municipalities can do a lot to address poverty.

“They can do things on transit, recreation, how they do policing, by-laws, things like that,” she said in a post-rally interview.

The Poverty Reduction Strategy Act requires the Manitoba government to review and update its poverty reduction plan every five years, and McCracken says the province is a year and a half late.

Families Minister Heather Stefanson says in a statement the province’s plan is nearing completion, after consulting with 2,000 Manitobans. Stefanson says they “continue to work with the federal government and community partners to find innovative solutions, and continually review programs and supports for low-income Manitobans to improve them and ensure they’re effective.”

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