A CALL TO ACTION
Everyone is Home: Yellowknife’s 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness
The people of the North have taken on and overcome seemingly insurmountable challenges. Yellowknifers carve their lives from an environment others see as harsh and unforgiving as much as it is breathtaking. As in many Northwest Territories communities, the city is forging a future made up of increasing diversity, grounded in ways of life existing since time immemorial.
Yellowknife is at a crossroads as a community. Whether thinking about the economic future, urban revitalization, commitment to authentic Reconciliation, or approach to governance, the city has to grapple with emerging complex social challenges if it is to become the prosperous and thriving community residents envision to create together. Homelessness is a true test of the Yellowknife’s resilience – an expression of extreme deprivation with consequences and impacts that affect every single person. It calls upon all to act.
Continuing to manage homelessness costs more than ending it; the impacts of homelessness on emergency rooms, jails, police, and the courts is significant and does little to address root causes. Moving towards a Housing First approach, which places emphasis on moving people rapidly into housing with wrap-around supports, will help end their homelessness, and relieve pressure on emergency services in the community.
Homelessness in Yellowknife and the North is a legacy of Canada’s colonial past, intimately tied to the ongoing impacts of residential schooling and intergenerational trauma. As such, homelessness is much more than someone’s lack of housing or shelter – it is a manifestation of dispossession, displacement, and disruption forpeople, families, and entire Indigenous communities at a spiritual, social, and material level.
Finding a way forward to end homelessness is therefore more than providing housing and shelter – as much as these remain essential. True wellness places importance on the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual of people, families, communities, and their interconnectedness with one another and the land.Ending homelessness is a collective responsibility, and this Plan is a call to action for all to take another step on a journey of healing and Reconciliation.