Funding has recently been provided for urban indigenous needs throughout Portage la Prairie.

Portage Community Revitalization Corporation Indigenous Community Coordinator Cornell Pashe says they received some emergency response funding from the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs, or Indigenous Service Canada a short while ago. A call-out was made to fund urban indigenous needs, and we were successful in obtaining $33,000.

"During that time there was a second call at $75-million and our same proposal that we submitted the first time around made it to that second stage," continues Pashe. "So, there was additional $58,000. So, in total, we were able to receive almost $85,000 so we could distribute it amongst the community."

Community Facilitator Vienna Muise outlines some of the organizations that benefited. 

"I typically deal with grants," says Muise. "In my role here, talking to those different organizations, ROK (Recreation Opportunities for Kids Central) recognized that there were children at home doing education and parents that may or may not be able to help them out, some that are working, some that just don't really know how to do it."

Money was given in that field to help with home-schooling.

She notes funding goes toward several areas of need.

"This funding goes toward education, mental health, any kind of food security issues, and then the COVID itself," adds Muise. "Elders transportation, the vulnerable population, and CMHA are also receiving some of this funding."

Muise says the transient or homeless population will benefit, as well as urban indigenous people who don't have a means of transportation, for whom a bicycle is provided through partnership with the Greasy Chain organization in town. She says all of the applications for the funding involved the programming they required and what their needs were. Wawokiya is one organization that was assisted, as well as Reaching Home, and the Family Resource Centre.

She notes they're ensuring there is no duplication of the same service, as when a person might require a hamper, and a second hamper isn't issued to the same one while another party is doing without. Muise notes this way things are being spread out throughout the entire community. She adds even though this is identified for urban indigenous people, it eases up funds in other areas for the rest of the community, as with hampers, for example.

Pashe adds it's been a busy time to look after those in Portage who are urban indigenous people. He says First Nations people receive their own emergency funding, and those in Portage are no different and likewise have needs.