SideDoor awarded $50K to help Yellowknife's homeless youth find jobs

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SideDoor awarded $50K to help Yellowknife's homeless youth find jobs

SideDoor awarded $50K to help Yellowknife's homeless youth find jobs

The City of Yellowknife has signed a $50,000 contract with a local youth centre to run a new employment program for young homeless people.

"The intent of this program is to provide youth with the tools in order to maintain a job," said Iris Hamlyn, the executive director of SideDoor.

The 21-week program will be open to 15- to 24-year-olds who experience homelessness. SideDoor aims to have 12 participants.

"Getting a job in Yellowknife is not so difficult, but keeping a job is where the tools need to be applied," Hamlyn said.

"We're trying to train the youth to look beyond the limitations of income support and look at being sustainable."

Over the first five weeks, youth will receive training on how to enter the workforce. They will then work odd jobs at local businesses every day.

Participants will start with three-hour shifts, eventually working their way to longer hours. They will be paid minimum wage for the duration of the program, through SideDoor's $50,000 contract.

Goal to find permanent employment

The money was set aside by city council in its 2017 budget for a Homelessness Employment Program.

Hamlyn says her program will help curb homelessness in the future.

"If you provide intensive supports to youth while they're in the first year of [being homeless], you can actually reverse the trend and prevent adult homelessness," she said.

"They can earn their own income, take pride in having a good day's work completed, and having something that they can accomplish personally, as opposed to us doing something for them."

The program will launch July 10.

The goal is to find permanent employment for participants once the program ends in December.