Ending homelessness in Winnipeg is a tall order for a small organization. But that is precisely what members at End Homelessness Winnipeg set out to do every day they go to work.
The non-profit agency works with community members and the private, public and non-profit sectors to tackle the issue of homelessness. Their goal is to find permanent housing for homeless Winnipeggers and provide the support they need to keep them from going back to the streets. They also collect data to measure the progress the community is making to end homelessness.
It’s a big job for members of MGEU’s newest local, Local 439, and President Michelle Gawronsky is happy to welcome them to the MGEU family.
“It’s exciting. Our union has been growing in the social services sector for a number of years now. And when I talk to the folks who work in these organizations they almost always say they’re looking for the same thing: to be treated fairly and equally in their workplace and paid a fair wage for the important work they do,” says Gawronsky. “At a time when the provincial government is talking about changing the way these social services are delivered, I think it makes sense that they’d want to join with others who work in the sector.”
End Homelessness Winnipeg has an ambitious ten-year plan to eradicate homelessness by 2025. Accomplishing this task takes dedicated, caring people like Marie Cecile Kotyk of Local 439.
“What I love about my job is being able to show kindness and compassion to others, helping them in whatever way that they need and being a part of positive change in our community. I love caring about people,” says Kotyk who has worked in the organization for just over a year.
Gawronsky says this kind of response is one she hears time and again from people working in community social services.
“The only reason you get into this kind of work is because you love what you do and you love to help people. It’s not for the money. But these workers still want to be treated fairly and feel valued. When you think about it, isn’t that what every worker wants? That’s why they’ve chosen to join a union and we’re happy to have them,” says Gawronsky.
With the addition of Local 439, the MGEU now represents more than 35 locals in the community social service sector.