Winnipeg’s N’dinawemak shelter undergoes another restructuring with SABE Peace Walkers departure

Another partner at the N'dinawemak shelter in Winnipeg has departed from the facility, as the SABE Peace Walkers are no longer providing services, but some say they’re still having a positive effect elsewhere in Winnipeg. Morgan Modjeski reports.

A shelter that has received millions of dollars in provincial funding is again undergoing structural changes.

The community group that once provided services at 190 Disraeli, the SABE peace walkers, has officially departed.  But, some who work with the group, say they’re still making a difference in Winnipeg. 

“It’s super important to have a group like SABE in the community,” said Zohreh Gervais, executive director of the Osborne Village Business Improvement Zone.

“When we know the people on our street, when we are able to walk down the street and see faces that we recognize … feels like they belong. We feel a sense of ownership in the community and sense of ownership carries through to a sense of security and safety.” 

CityNews reported earlier this year how SABE members allegedly exhibited problematic behaviour when interacting with vulnerable people at the shelter, including two fatal incidents, one where a woman who went unchecked for hours passed away, and another where members failed to intervene in a fatal assault, with three members disciplined as a result. 

The departure of SABE has resulted in some temporary layoffs and reassignments, but how many exactly are out of the job is unclear. SABE and the shelter did not respond to our request for comment. 

However, Brandy Bobier, a former SABE board member, says the departure had always been planned, and while unavailable for an interview, she noted some changes at the facility “did not align” with what SABE was trying to do.

The departure is no concern for the Osborne Village Business Improvement Zone, which says its experience with the group has been nothing but positive. 

“It really aligns beautifully with the vision that we have with them in Osborne for continuing to support the community,” said Gervais. 

For Gervais, she says the visibility of the group and its effort to build relationships with people in Osborne is its biggest strength, and says there are plans to expand its footprint in the future. 

“They’ve been really putting down their routes in the community to focus on outreach — rather than patrolling of different building or space.” 

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