Michael Fatt

Michael Fatt pictured with some of the bottles he collected to raise funds for his toy drive. Photo supplied by Michael Fatt.
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Michael Fatt arrived in Yellowknife in 2008.

He moved into a tent behind the legislative assembly. 

Fatt would spend six years living homeless in Yellowknife, moving around between different locations.

“I did alcohol and drugs — I did whatever I could just to forget that I even existedI detached myself from all my responsibilities. It was just easier to forget things and realize, you know — well not even admit that I’m an alcohol and drug addict, until I’ve used for so long — until it hurt too much.”

Michael Fatt

Fatt said when he was homeless, there were few supports available in the city.

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He struggled for six years with addiction until he signed up to be admitted to a rehabilitation facility.

After he left rehab, he returned to Yellowknife, and partnering with the Yellowknife Women’s Society started a pilot program called Common Ground.

The program aims to provide homeless people working, providing low-cost maintenance services.

I remember coming out and thinking that, you know, wouldn’t it be nice just to get up. And in that minute that you’re feeling, if you want to change your life, you know, you just go right to it, they would not be an opportunity, that would not be a simple solution

Michael Fatt

Fatt says it has helped a number of people, including himself deal with issues around substance use and addiction.

I am getting busy helping others. So that the fact that I’m busy, keeps me from even thinking about using again. And I find that that is a huge contribution to my recovery.

Michael Fatt

The program has been running for two years.

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Fatt said he hopes they can expand the program beyond providing employment opportunities to running a mentorship program.

Fatt said that kind of peer-to-peer understanding a mentorship program could provide is something that is lacking in other services in the city.

“Education is a big part of it. That’s what reconciliation is all about, reconciliation is about coming to understand.”

Michael Fatt

Outside of the Common Ground program, Fatt has been an advocate for homeless shelters, speaking in front of city council during their deliberations on the temporary day shelter.

Fatt has also been running a bottle-drive to purchase Christmas gifts for families in need, raising over $2,000 so far.

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