The workers at Home Base YK are looking to provide more funding and food to youth dealing with homelessness in Yellowknife, after rebranding from SideDoor Ministries.
The organization will no longer be connected to a Christian ministry either.
That decision came to ensure everyone who comes into the Resource Centre, now renamed the Youth Centre, under the rebrand, feels welcome and safe, said Tammy Roberts, Executive Director of Home Base YK.
Roberts says when she started in the position, the entire board who had run the organization previously resigned
“Working with brand new people, the board had decided that they thought it was best to just, start from scratch and work to make the organization more functional,” she said. “Of course, our board is adamant about making sure that the needs of all youth are met.”
The decision to make the change was made in February, and work has been going on to develop the organization’s new identity.
Roberts said there would be more programming coming with the change.
“Youth need to keep busy,” she said. “We all know that. And the youth that access our programs are no different.”
Kiera-Leigh Kameemalik, who works at the Youth Centre, says giving kids someone who will listen to them, and someone they can form a connection with is also important.
“They always like to come to me or Anne-Marie and it’s really nice that they have someone that can speak to you about personal stuff, because I didn’t really have that growing up,” she said. “So it’s kind of neat. Now that I see kids come to me for anything.”
Anne-Marie Byzuk, the staff lead at the Youth Centre, said now the rebrand is done the centre can look at tackling other issues, like securing regular funding to provide a more youth a reliable source of food at the centre.
“The problem with dealing with a lot of these kids is we don’t have food to feed them,” she said. “Like we’re running low on food, we don’t have the means to get the food to them and a lot of them are dependent on it.”
“It’s definitely quite hard when you’ve got to tell kids like, ‘Hey, I know you eat here. You ate here for two months straight. But now I have to cut that off.’”
“Because now we’re starting to dip into personal pockets for money.”
Byzuk said she was working on finding sources of funding to run a food program at the Youth Centre.