Lions Club of Winnipeg deserves to lose the increased credibility in our community that holding registered charitable status gives them.
Lions Club of Winnipeg deserves to be stripped of their exemption from paying income taxes because of their chosen behaviour.
Lions Club of Winnipeg and Lions Clubs International deserve the shame, public scorn and alienation given any psychological abuser.
On Thursday, January 19, 2023 at 11:30am a coalition of community organisations and members of the public will gather at 610 Portage Avenue, in Winnipeg, to demonstrate public support for the tenants of Lions Place and call on all levels of government and Lions Club members to intervene and stop the private sale of Lions Place.
Lions Place is the largest non-profit housing in the province and has been in existence since 1982. It provides rent-geared-to-income housing for those 55 and over. There are many initiatives organized by and for residents that make Lions Place a community. More than a physical location, Lions Place is a living community for older adults with a wide array of physical and social activities and supports by and for tenants. This is all under threat with the impending sale.
Currently, Lions Place is set to be sold on the private market to the highest bidder. So far, no attempts have been seen to be made by Lions Club of Winnipeg or any level of government to stop the sale or to find a non-profit buyer. Tenants are insecure as to how long their rents will remain affordable and whether they will have to move. They dread how much discomfort (meaning physical pain) and disruption they will have to endure if they cannot stay. And, their community, this synergistic connection with other humans that they created, it as well as all the structures that support it, will be destroyed.
The Government of Manitoba relies on a definition that narrows abuse to a relationship context, expanding on the notion of trust by suggesting sites where abuse can occur. Elder abuse is therefore any action or lack of action by someone in a position of trust that harms the health or wellbeing of an older person. Elder abuse can happen at home, in the community, in acute and long-term care facilities, and inside of a charitable organisation. Abuse exists in many different forms. Abuse can be physical or psychological. It can also exist in the form of neglect and exploitation.
Any person doing this would be despised our society, considered despicable and disreputable. It is galling and unconscionable that any organisation with registered charitable status, such as Lions Club of Winnipeg and Lions Club of Winnipeg’s Housing Centres, would choose to continue whole-hog and full-steam-along with this behaviour.
This is institutional abuse of our community’s senior population—knowingly making them housing insecure in their delicate and vulnerable years of life. This contributes to, rather than alleviates, homelessness and housing insecurity in our city. The real-world, true-to-life consequences of the absence of housing options, like Lions Place, is that more seniors will be placed into institutional care facilities, increasingly rumored to be places of neglect and human rights abuses.
We call on all levels of government to intervene and work with the Lions Place Tenants Committee to halt the private sale of Lions Place. Lions Place should be run with the principles of good government and good citizenship in mind while respecting the special needs of the community of tenants they specifically targeted and invited to thrive there.
The public does not support this sale of a publicly-supported building being flipped-off for profit.
Please, come join us in stopping this horrific precedent from being set—both for affordable, non-profit, charity-supported housing, as well as for the treatment of seniors and vulnerable people. Thursday, January 19, 2023 at 11:30am, join with a coalition of community organisations and members of the public who gather to demonstrate public support for a change of behaviour towards the tenants of Lions Place, 610 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg, Treaty 1 territory. Please bring banners from your organization to help demonstrate the level of public support we need to stop the sale of the building, the displacement of the tenants, and the destruction of their community – a life-line for many.