The mayor of Whitehorse says newly-announced federal funding will help steer local young people away from crime and "towards a healthy life."
The money announced for the city on Thursday is from the federal government's $250-million Building Safer Communities Fund, which was launched last year. The city of Whitehorse will receive up to $929,000 over four years for "local initiatives that prevent crime and help young people make good choices," according to a news release.
It's up the city to decide what those initiatives are, and how the money is best used.
"The city is going to be able to take these federal funds and distribute them to local organizations who are doing important and vital work on the ground, when it comes to preventing crime and keeping our community safe," said Minister of Public Safety Marco Mendocino, announcing the funding in Whitehorse on Thursday.
"Our goal is to address the root causes of crime, tackling the underlying conditions that give rise to criminal behaviour."
Mayor Laura Cabott said it's about keeping youth "out of harm's way."
She said the city will initially use the money to identify specific needs and develop a plan. She suggested possible initiatives could include mentoring programs, counselling, skills development or recreation programs.
"Right now, we're having a bit of a rash of some vandalism, graffiti. We need to get to the heart of why that's happening and provide healthy opportunities for youth to be doing other things — channeling some of that energy, channeling some of that artistic ability into something positive," said Cabott.
"This money is going to help us at the front end to do some engagement, find out what are some of the root causes, learn from youth, learn from the First Nations, learn from working with the RCMP, and just community members, on what are some of the options that we can steer youth towards a healthy life."