Winnipeg in Focus is a database for archival descriptions and digital collections at the City of Winnipeg Archives.

Subseries s00077 - Winnipeg Housing Company Limited

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Winnipeg Housing Company Limited

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  • Textual record

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Subseries

Reference code

s00077

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Dates of creation area

Date(s)

  • 1933 - 1957 (Creation)
    Creator
    Winnipeg (Man.). Special Committee on Housing Conditions
  • 1931 - 1945 (Creation)
    Creator
    Winnipeg (Man.). Special Committee on Housing Conditions, Winnipeg Housing Company Limited

Physical description area

Physical description

0.3 m of textual records.

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Archival description area

Name of creator

Biographical history

The City of Winnipeg was incorporated in 1873 by a charter granted by the legislature of Manitoba. At incorporation, the City established a committee system of government: while Council was the governing body for the City, it was in committee that civic policies were formed and executed. The initial task for the first and all subsequent Councils was to strike standing committees for the Council year. In addition to standing committees, Council established special committees to investigate and manage various projects, issues and questions placed before the City. Special committees were typically struck by a Council motion that outlined committee composition and responsibilities. From about 1924 onward, special committees and their associated files were assigned an alpha-numeric code beginning with the letter "A".

The Special Committee on Housing Conditions was formed in December of 1933. In the original motion, the committee was instructed to conduct a detailed survey of housing conditions in Winnipeg. This motion was amended and the scope of the committee expanded to address the "whole matter of housing conditions in the City of Winnipeg". In 1935, the committee was further instructed to look into overcrowding and to determine areas that could be cleared and redeveloped. Between 1937 and 1945, the committee formed and managed the Winnipeg Housing Company Limited and its demonstration home project.

Throughout its history, the committee worked with the federal and provincial governments to take advantage of programs and funding sources for housing starts and renovations. In particular, the committee worked with Wartime Housing Limited to address housing needs for returning servicemen and veterans. In 1947, the committee created a Fact Finding Board to prepare a report on housing conditions up to that point in time.

Acute housing shortages during the 1940s lead to creation of the Emergency Housing Department in 1945, which reported to Council through the Special Committee on Housing Conditions. This city department maintained a registry of applicants for housing and available housing units, lead a campaign to encourage citizens to register and rent out unoccupied rooms in their homes, administered various emergency and low rental housing sites, and became increasingly involved in welfare and social work relating to tenants in city housing projects (individual or family case histories are contained in some communications files). Annual reports prepared by the Emergency Housing Department provide statistical data and analyses of the effects of acute housing shortages on those living in substandard housing as well as on the city as a whole.

Effective January 1, 1957, the staff of the Emergency Housing Department were transferred into the Public Welfare Department of the City of Winnipeg, which then reported to Council through the Public Welfare Committee. At the first council meeting in 1957, a motion to "not reappoint" the Special Committee on Housing Conditions carried by majority and it was discontinued.

Name of creator

Biographical history

The City of Winnipeg was incorporated in 1873 by a charter granted by the legislature of Manitoba. At incorporation, the City established a committee system of government: while Council was the governing body for the City, it was in committee that civic policies were formed and executed. The initial task for the first and all subsequent Councils was to strike standing committees for the Council year. In addition to standing committees, Council established special committees to investigate and manage various projects, issues and questions placed before the City.

The Special Committee on Housing Conditions was formed in 1933 and was responsible for the creation of the Winnipeg Housing Company Limited.

On June 28, 1937, Council accepted a report by the Special Committee on Housing Conditions and instructed the City Solicitor to draft incorporation papers for a company to be known as the Winnipeg Housing Company Limited. The company charter was granted by the Province of Manitoba and issued on July 17, 1937. Formation of the Company had been proposed by the Special Committee to address a severe housing shortage and to provide employment to construction workers and tradesmen during a period of severe unemployment. As well, the Company would enable the City to take advantage of provisions in the Dominion Housing Act for the construction of low cost housing. The success of this endeavor depended upon an amendment to the City's charter to allow the City to exchange residential building lots for common stock in the Company. While this amendment was before the Provincial Legislature, the Company constructed a demonstration home at 804 Ashburn Street; some 20,000 people toured this home in the fall of 1937 and the Company received expressions of interest in building similar homes from a significant number of these visitors. Early in 1938, the bill to amend the City of Winnipeg Charter was defeated in the Provincial Legislature and no further homes were built. In 1938, the Company reorganized to enable construction of low cost rental housing under part two of the National Housing Act of 1937. The Company filed returns at both the provincial and federal level until 1945.

The first (provisional) directors of the Company were: Mayor Frederick Warriner and Aldermen E. D. Honeyman, R. A. Sara, J. Blumberg and J. Simpkin. Alderman Sara, who served as Secretary-Treasurer and Secretary of the Company, was also Chairman of the City's Special Committee on Housing Conditions for the years 1937-1941. In September of 1937, Frank E. Halls of the construction company Carter, Halls, Aldinger Co. was elected a Director and then President of the Company.

Custodial history

City Clerk's Department.

Scope and content

Forms part of Series 11, Fonds 1. Subseries consists of minutes, communications, reports, speeches, incorporation papers, blueprints for a demonstration home, photographs of the demonstration home, and requests for information from citizens interested in city built homes. The records were created or received by Alderman R. A. Sara in his capacity as Secretary-Treasurer of the Winnipeg Housing Company Limited, a company created by the City to facilitate construction of low cost housing. The records are in chronological order (requests for information from citizens are in alphabetical order).

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Restrictions on access

There are no restrictions on access to these records. Researchers are responsible for observing Canadian copyright regulations.

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Finding aids

File list available in Research Room.

Associated materials

Related materials

Accruals

No further accruals are expected.

General note

Related groups of records within the same fonds:
Special Committees, Minutes, City of Winnipeg (1874-1971)
Council Minutes, City of Winnipeg (1874-1971).

Alternative identifier(s)

Legacy Reference Code

f0001-0011-0018

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cowa

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