Thursday, 21 April 2016

Yellowknife’s “dark empty hole” a haven for the homeless - Nearly one in five homeless in city's downtown core are Inuit

 April 21, 2016 - 1:15 pm

Yellowknife's "dark empty hole" a haven for the homeless

Nearly one in five homeless in city's downtown core are Inuit


"...YELLOWKNIFE — You don't have to go out of your way to find homeless people in the capital of the Northwest Territories.
That's because Yellowknife's downtown core, which city councillors and developers call "a dark empty hole," has become a haven for the homeless.
On April 20, when temperatures climbed to minus 5 C under sunny skies, many homeless people were hanging around the Yellowknife post office and in front of the Centre Square Mall on Franklin Avenue. [...]
Nearly one in five homeless surveyed were Inuit, many from western Nunavut, most had lived in the city for more than 10 years, and, like Palluq, more than three in four had been homeless for more than 180 days.
According to a similar 2014 survey of homelessness in Nunavut's three largest communities, the Government of Nunavut found fewer than 100 homeless Nunavummiut — a low number which many contested as being 10 times too low.
If that survey was accurate, this would mean there are only a handful of homeless, like in Cambridge Bay, where the GN plans to spend $470,000 in 2016-17 on a homeless shelter.
Some put the actual number of homeless closer to 400 in Yellowknife, where a one-bedroom rental apartment in the city centre costs $1,650 a month. [..]
"There have always been people on the streets. But there weren't the numbers we have now — they're extremely visible," said Gino Pin, an architect whose company designed several buildings in Cambridge Bay, including the Kiilinik school, the new Nunavut Arctic College residence and the hamlet office.
He's spearheaded the "Homeful Partnership" group in Yellowknife, which hopes to put money and energy go into a "housing first concept" instead of a downtown redevelopment beautification plan, which is also on the table.
But that doesn't solve the root problems of the downtown or homelessness, Pin said, citing Homeful Partnership's motto: "homes for our homeless, a city safe for everyone and a healthy vibrant downtown core."
With eight facilities for the homeless in Yellowknife, there is still not enough shelter for everyone, said Pin, who would like to see housing, perhaps with some form of supervision in place, built to take people off the city's cold streets...."

George Lessard
Yellowknife, Northwest Territories

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