PhD candidate gives GNWT 5 tips on helping the homeless

Homelessness is a visible problem in Yellowknife and the NWT.

Nick Falvo presents the findings of the policy report at Yellowknife City Hall, 26 May 2011A PHD candidate at Carleton University, Nick Falvo, has released a report on homelessness in Yellowknife, which he said is a disturbing picture.

Falvo's research states that on any given night in the city, there are at least 100 homeless people staying in shelters, the RCMP detachment or outside and 90 to 95 per cent of those people are Dene, Métis or Inuit.

The doctoral student has made five key recommendations to mitigate homelessness, including establishing standards at emergency shelters to address staffing issues.

"There can be up to 50 residents staying overnight at the emergency men's shelter in Yellowknife, but one staff," he pointed out. "Many of those residents are intoxicated. Imagine if there were a fire.”

Falvo has recommended the GNWT increase affordable housing, pointing out that many homeless people end up in hospitals or jails.

Several Yellowknifers made comments during a presentation Falvo gave at City Hall May 26, including the executive director of the John Howard Society in the NWT, Lydia Bardak.

She pointed out the need to help people with mental illnesses in particular, who end up where they don't belong: in corrections.

"The money is there and let's figure out how we're investing, because an investment in corrections has never helped anyone and is not a wise one."

Falvo has also suggested the government put a task force in place to tackle substance abuse among the homeless and create a Homelessness Secretariat to champion the issue in the territory.

Publication Date: 
Yellowknife, NT, Canada