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My Priorities and Solutions 

Image by Vinoth Ragunathan

Priority #3

WELLNESS

HOMELESSNESS

“Together let’s create a robust health care system that is reliable, accessible and effective”

We need urgent government action to address homelessness, healthcare and mental health crises across our territory. We need a focused, individualized approach to homelessness and provide solutions to healthcare that must be accessible, equitable, and effective

 

Homelessness:

 

Yellowknife and the NWT as a whole is dealing with a chronic homelessness crisis. The number of people on the streets has grown exponentially since the two last governments

 

“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 for people, families, and entire Indigenous communities at a spiritual, social, and material level.” (See report)

 

More people are struggling to get into transitional housing than ever and access to wrap-around services are limited by government bureaucracy and lack of coordination

 

Solving homelessness is not the challenge of any single order of government, it is all of our responsibility as a community. We need to work together through interjurisdictional collaboration and closely with Indigenous governments  

 

The newly released draft homeless strategy by the GNWT is coming a bit late and does not provide hopeful timelines and when some of the proposed measures will be implemented. Nevertheless, it is a welcome strategy that the next government can work on improving and implementing quickly.

 

We need to be able to deal with homelessness from the source. Youth at risk of homelessness fly under the radar and this government has neglected investing in programs that can support vulnerable young people

 

“Government needs to recognize that planning to support anyone that is homelessness without their participation and input is like building on quicksand.” 

 

Part of the failure on the part of the GNWT is not collecting homelessness data to inform decision making. It is also not clear which department is responsible for tackling homelessness. This responsibility seems to be piece-meal across more than one department ineffectively.

 

With such lacking leadership by elected officials, the tendency is that government continues to pass the buck and does not take ownership and responsibility of the homelessness crisis and it is the vulnerable members of our community that suffer the consequences.  

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Solutions

HOMELESSNESS

  • Get Housing First done by increasing government spending on housing infrastructure with transitional housing and housing for vulnerable people and families being the highest priority 
     

  • There should be no plan without the input and participation of the individual. Government needs to develop a focused and individualized approach to homelessness by creating Awareness Plans or Individual Case Management Plans for every individual that is homeless and a roadmap to helping them out of homelessness 

  • Stop homelessness at its source by increasing investment in programs that can help youth at risk of homelessness and provide them with the right supports. This can be done through after school programing or direct family supports   
     

  • Establish shelters in communities without shelters. This is one of the biggest emergency gaps in homelessness that exist in communities  

 

  • Increase support funding and capacity of existing non-profits like the YWCA and the City of YK Street Outreach Program providing wrap around boots on the ground services to our homeless population 

 

  • Train staff to understanding the impact and trauma of Canada’s colonial legacy of residential school to Indigenous Peoples 

 

  • Work with Indigenous governments to come develop a plan through case management planning, for community members experiencing homelessness outside of their home communities    

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