Yellowknife council pledges $800k to address homelessness, provide housing

·2 min read
The City of Yellowknife has $800,000 that it's able to give to a local organization to provide housing. It comes from a federal pocket of money called the Reaching Home initiative which addresses housing insecurity, homelessness and its root causes.   (Michael Hugall/CBC - image credit)
The City of Yellowknife has $800,000 that it's able to give to a local organization to provide housing. It comes from a federal pocket of money called the Reaching Home initiative which addresses housing insecurity, homelessness and its root causes. (Michael Hugall/CBC - image credit)

Yellowknife's city council will allocate $800,000 in federal funding to a local non-government organization to support the purchase of a building for housing.

The city hasn't picked an organization yet, because they haven't opened up the requests for proposals, but that should be coming soon.

Rebecca Alty, Yellowknife's Mayor, said the project should be sustainable, including how the organization intends to maintain the costs to operate the building they select.

It's meant to meet "both the short-term and the long-term needs of residents in the community," said Alty.

Compared to most years, the City of Yellowknife has received more money to address housing insecurity, because the federal government has opened more funding options to tackle pandemic-related stressors.

Under the federal government's Reaching Home initiative, which aims to reduce homelessness and address its root causes, the City of Yellowknife has received an additional $1.2 million which has been allocated to various groups.

For example, the Arctic Indigenous Wellness Foundation received $347,000 to support their programming, like hiring a new staff member to provide child care.

The federal funding sets certain conditions, which have been restrictive at times, but Alty said the additional funding "has been an amazing opportunity."

It has allowed the city to spend on more sustainable options, said Alty, and "for us to be able to help organizations actually purchase housing so that we can make a difference and try to reduce the number of people who are currently homeless."

A 2018 survey reported that youth account for nearly one third of the city's population experiencing homelessness.

Around 338 people in Yellowknife did not have "stable, permanent and appropriate housing."

Another point-in-time survey was conducted this summer, but the results have not been made available yet.

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