Manwin Hotel: Advocate deplores ‘unlivable’ conditions; owner says he helps the homeless

A housing advocate in Winnipeg is raising concerns about the conditions at Main Street’s Manwin Hotel, saying they may be putting tenants’ health and safety at risk, but the owner of the hotel says he’s working to improve the space.

By Morgan Modjeski

Conditions at a Winnipeg hotel are getting so bad they’re putting people’s health and wellbeing at risk, says a housing advocate.

But the owner of the Manwin Hotel on Main Street says he’s doing his best in what he calls an “extreme environment.”

Security concerns, soiled carpets, graffiti-covered walls and general disrepair are present throughout the hotel.

“The living conditions in places like this are unlivable,” said advocate Nick McIvor.

“Thousands of people drive by every day and look at this place, but they don’t really know what it’s inside it.”


McIvor recently did a walkthrough of the hotel and says its current state is a hazard, especially for already vulnerable people.

“There’s a lot of stresses,” he said. “Suicidal thoughts, depression. And people who live in places like this, they turn to substances to numb the feeling, and then it becomes an addiction and it just spirals and spirals.”

McIvor, who works to find affordable, safe housing for people, says he feels hotels like the Manwin are taking advantage of people and their owners need to be held accountable.

“Our government and our leaders in the city have to wake up,” he said.

Exterior of Winnipeg’s Manwin Hotel on Main Street on Oct. 28, 2022. (Credit: CityNews/Morgan Modjeski)

56 visits from fire prevention team 

The City of Winnipeg reports between 2018 and 2022, fire prevention team members came to the hotel 56 times after receiving feedback from front-line fire crews.

Information from the province shows the hotel was shuttered early in 2021 on a Health Protection Unit order for “multiple chronic maintenance issues,” including issues with the building’s boiler.

There was a complaint about a lack of heat early this year, but the province says it was “quickly addressed” and did not result in a closure.

Currently there are no orders that would cause the closure of the property.

RELATED: Mount Royal hotel closes after failed inspection

‘They have nowhere to go’

“I’m providing them a service. Sometimes I let people stay here because they have no place to go,” said Akim Kambamba, the Manwin’s owner.

Kambamba says the building is currently fire safe and claims he’s spent tens of thousands of dollars trying to make the hotel a suitable place to live. He says he’s trying to help those in need.

“When I see people homeless, they have nowhere to go, I let them in,” said Kambamba. “They stay here, sometimes a month, sometimes two months, without any rent at all –I’ve done that. What more do you expect me to do?”

Kambamba says over the next 10 days, there will be extensive renovations at the Manwin to improve conditions inside, saying he’s facing extreme conditions.

“The issue of homelessness is a big problem in the city. We have folks who are human beings like anybody else, and I’m trying to do the best I can.”

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