Homes once used for crime are getting a second lease on life.

The Manitoba government, through the Criminal Property Forfeiture (CPF) unit, will donate six houses forfeited as proceeds of crime in Winnipeg’s Point Douglas neighbourhood for development by interested non-profit and Indigenous organizations to build affordable housing units for low-income families.

“These properties were used to support illicit drug activity and crime in the area, but will soon benefit the neighbourhood by being donated and converted into needed housing for families while contributing to community renewal," said Justice Minister Kelvin Goertzen at a press conference on Wednesday.

In the event that a successful proponent proposes demolition and rebuild on the home sites, the CPF unit will work with the group on demolition costs.

Until the transfer is complete, Manitoba Housing will be managing the properties, with its department staff responsible for ongoing maintenance, inspections and security. 

“Manitoba Housing has issued a negotiated request for proposals to identify a non-profit or Indigenous-housing organization to turn these properties into affordable housing units,” said Squires. “This will provide more opportunities for affordable home ownership and help strengthen families and communities.”

The successful non-profit or Indigenous-housing provider will be required to follow Manitoba Housing’s Affordable Housing Program income limits for Winnipeg. Eligible homebuyers must have a total household income of not more than $84,600.

“The seizure and donation of these houses is a significant payback for the harm alleged drug dealers have done to north Point Douglas,” said Sel Burrows, co-ordinator, Point Powerline. “Special thanks to the brave residents who said no to drug dealing. Seizure of property is an important consequence of criminal activity.”

Since its inception in 2009, the Criminal Property Forfeiture Fund has distributed more than $26 million back to communities throughout Manitoba.