Calls for inquest at Winnipeg shelter grow as second family wants loved one’s death examined

The calls for an inquest into fatal incidents at a Winnipeg shelter are growing, as family members of a 59-year-old man who was attacked, and later died in hospital outside the shelter say questions remain about their loved one. 

The Dec. 9, attack resulting in the death of Floyd Flett happened on the steps of N’dinawemak and video obtained by CityNews shows a member of the SABE peace walkers — one of the six partners who provide services at the shelter — failed to intervene in the attack.

Flett was struck in the head several times and he’d later die in hospital as a result of his injuries. Now, his sister elder Mclaine Flett wants an inquest to take place to ensure both staff at the shelter are properly trained, and the proper resources are in place, like security and on-site paramedics, saying her brother is being remembered as a man who would do whatever he could to help.

“There’s a lot of anger,” said Fleet. “They should have intervened right away instead of just watching him get hit.” 

“Whatever he has in his pocket, he’ll help you as much as he can.” 

In 2022 Cheryl Whitford was discovered dead at the facility after going unchecked for several hours, despite the fact body and breathing checks were supposed to happen every 15 to 30 minutes.

Her family have said publicly they’d like to see an inquest examining the death, and now Flett’s older sister, is echoing the call, saying her brother’s death, which she feels could have been prevented, left her devastated. 

“Usually I bump into him every time I go for a walk and it’s hard every day not seeing him and I’m always asking myself why did they bother my brother?”

Shelter board chair Victoria Fisher said in a statement the board has started “a restructuring of the service delivery model and will continue with the restructuring of the governance and management of the operations of the shelter operations, taking into consideration any findings from this review, all of which were being done with the relatives well being considered first and foremost.”

CityNews reached out to Minister of Housing, Addictions and Homelessness Bernadette Smith, who issued a statement that explained: “My heart goes out to Cheryl Whitford and Floyd Flett’s loved ones. Underhoused people are often some of the most vulnerable Manitobans. We continue to work with community partners to support those experiencing homelessness and to get more people into safe, stable, long-term housing.”

As for Flett, she does feel an inquest into her brother’s attack and following death must be called to make sure other people in vulnerable positions at the shelter are protected and not put in danger when they try to access supports. 

“That place, they need a lot of help.”

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