North

Four N.W.T. communities to get new homeless shelters

Each of the 4 community group homes will have beds for 4 people and a full-time support worker on staff.

Each of the 4 community group homes will have beds for 4 people

'The whole idea is to put these people back on to a productive lifestyle...A lot of that life-skill support will be provided,' said Tom Williams, N.W.T. Housing Corporation president (CBC)

The N.W.T. Housing Corporation is converting four old public housing duplexes into group homes for the homeless in Aklavik, Fort Simpson, Fort Good Hope, and Behchoko.

Each of the four community group homes will have beds for four people.

Tom Williams, the corporation's president, says the corporation will staff a full-time support worker in each community to help residents with day-to-day needs.

"The whole idea is to put these people back on to a productive lifestyle," said Williams. "So maybe they need some career counselling or courses to better education. A lot of that life-skill support will be provided."

Williams says local organizations, mostly Indigenous governments, will be leading the projects in each community.

The funding for the project is being provided by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

'Moving in the right direction'

Williams acknowledges that four beds in each community won't solve homelessness.  
Fort Simpson Mayor Darlene Sibbeston says the group homes are a step in the right direction. (submitted by Darlene Sibbeston)

"It's a start," Williams says, "It won't meet all the needs, but it's moving in the right direction."

Fort Simpson Mayor Darlene Sibbeston agrees. 

"Fort Simpson is a hub for the Dehcho region, much like Yellowknife is for the Tlicho region. We have a lot of homeless people. They are on the streets and they are couchsurfing and they have nowhere to go. So I think it's great idea. The community has been canvassing this for a few years."

Williams says the plan is to have people in the Behchoko and Fort Simpson units by December, with the Aklavik and Fort Good Hope buildings following in the new year.

The next community to receive a similar project will be Yellowknife, Williams says.

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