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Homelessness Employment pilot program under works in YK

Yellowknife city councilors are expected to vote on the future of their pilot project aimed at employing the city’s homeless at the next city council meeting.

The Homelessness Employment Pilot Program was allotted $50,000 in the city’s latest budget, and will provide those who are homeless with short-term work; but details beyond that are still fuzzy.

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That’s because councilors are still deciding on recommendations on how to structure the program moving forward.

Earlier this week council was presented with five directions the project could take at the Municipal Service Committee meeting:
  1. Model their program after a similar one in the city of Winnipeg where daily work projects are provided for people doing odd jobs like shoveling snow or picking up garbage.
  2. Supplement existing employment programs in the city to reach out to Yellowknife’s homeless and show them how to write resumes, refine their skills, and support people in job hunting.
  3. Support existing programs supporting the homeless population in ways that are more relevant according to those providers.
  4. Incorporate On The Land programs into the pilot.
  5. Put a request for proposals out for ideas and solutions from other people.

Option one was by far the most popular option among councilors, though several expressed interest in incorporating On the Land programs into the pilot as well.

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While the short-term employment program won’t immediately fix the city’s homelessness problem, councilor Shauna Morgan said Monday that it’s focusing on making things better today.

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“Providing short-term employment for people is a valuable thing to do,” she said.

“It’s not everything but it’s something, and for many people who are struggling with homelessness this is what they want to do today with the tools and skills they have now.”

Councilors hope to have the Homeless Employment Program launched by this summer. The next city council meeting is Monday, March 27.

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