Yellowknife’s council approves funding for Aspen Apartments
Yellowknife city councillors have unanimously approved a recommendation by the city’s advisory board on homelessness to spend more than $1 million in federal funding on Aspen Apartments.
City council voted on Monday to allocate the remaining $1,468,864 in federal Reaching Home funding for the 2022-23 year to two projects, one of which is Aspen.
Council’s approval means $1,318,864 will be put toward turning the building into non-market housing. That figure is said to include the capital, operations and maintenance costs associated with acquiring and renovating the building.
The intent is that the city finds an organization willing to run Aspen Apartments as a supportive public housing facility.
Aspen was once used as federal worker accommodation. The complex had a brief stint as a day shelter in 2021 but now sits empty.
The remaining $150,000 was allocated on Monday to the Salvation Army’s Bailey House, a Yellowknife-based transitional house for men.
Council decided against spending the remainder of the funding on an on-the-land housing project for women.
According to federal requirements, this block of Reaching Home funding needed to be spent by the end of March 2023. As the on-the-land project was in its initial stages, councillors heard, timing would be tight.
Monday’s vote came after months of deliberation by board members and councillors.
Some believed the money would have been better spent toward existing programs and services for the homeless, while others argued Aspen was the city’s best chance to offer something other than a band-aid solution to homelessness.
The city will have until the end of March to acquire the apartments and begin renovation work.