Report provides recommendations on how to address issues in Yellowknife
When a report outlining five policy recommendations for addressing homelessness in the Yellowknife was presented to members of the community at city hall Thursday, people asked for action.
"Just do something," pleaded Kate Wilson, director of transitional housing for the YWCA. "I always say, we judge our communities by how they take care of their poor and we're not doing a good job.
"We need action, so please let's put a sense of urgency on this." Wilson was one of many men and women to ask questions and provide comments to Nick Falvo, a researcher and doctoral student at Carleton University, who wrote Homelessness in Yellowknife: An Emerging Social Challenge. The report, prepared in co-operation with the Centre for Northern Families, looks at programs and funding for homeless people in the city, policy issues and recommendations.
During his presentation, Falvo outlined the five major recommendations that stem from his report.
The first is that the GNWT create, as of Jan. 1, 2012, a homelessness secretariat with a director who can lead and manage the homelessness portfolio at the territorial government.
The second recommendation is to inform and involve the Yellowknife Homelessness Coalition in all planned funding initiatives.
Number three is to establish a working group to develop shelter standards and then ensure there is enough funding to implement those standards.
Falvo said standards would include the amount of space required per person to ensure people in the shelter are in a healthy environment.
The fourth recommendation is to start a public health task force that addresses substance use and abuse.
The final recommendation is to create more affordable housing, including more independent living support units, like the ones offered at the Rockhill Apartments by the YWCA.