City approves $800k for new building to help address homelessness

A shot of Yellowknife City Hall. (Supplied by City of Yellowknife.)
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City council has approved $800,000 in funding for the purchase of and renovation of a building to address homelessness in the city.

The funding comes from the federal Reaching Home fund, and is one of several recommendations that came from the Community Advisory Board on homelessness’ suggestions on how to spend the money.

The board also recommended funding go to two other programs, including nearly $350,000 to go towards programming at the Arctic Indigenous Wellness Foundation — who offer traditional-knowledge based healing and mental health supports — and $10,000 for Front Line First Aid Training.

The motion also included support for CAB’s backing of the establishment of a new day shelter in Yellowknife, after the temporary dya shelter being held at the Mine Resources building was closed on May 31.

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“It’s a philosophical support,” said Yellowknife Mayor Rebecca Alty. “A philosophical — on-the-books motion. There’s no funding attached and when a development permit comes forward for the day shelter, we’ll review it as normal.”

The city had previously discussed using COVID-19 relief funding, also provided by the federal government, to help cover the cost of renovations at the Aspen Apartments building — which had been the site for temporary shelter services when the day shelter closed until an appeal shuttered those services.

The GNWT’s says the health department had shortlisted a vacant lot on 51st Street as a location for a new, permanent day and overnight shelter. The plan is for the space to accommodate 99 people in total, with 60 people able to use the day shelter at a time, as well as 30 overnight beds. 

There was no mention of how the $800,000 will be connected to those plans during the council meeting on Monday. MyTrueNorthNow.com has reached out to the City of Yellowknife for comment. 

More to come.

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