Home Base YK has purchased an apartment complex on 53 Street consisting of eight one-bedroom units to house Yellowknife youth.
The organization, which supports youth in the territory’s capital, finalized the purchase last week with the help of funds received from the City of Yellowknife to tackle homelessness.
Home Base executive director Tammy Roberts told Cabin Radio finding housing had been challenging. For the past year, Roberts said, the organization has had a waiting list of at least 10 people.
“It’s been our dream to have our own space, whether we built something brand new or found something existing,” she said.
“The apartments we can find are sometimes are in areas that are not a good fit for our youth, whether there are distractions or not-good neighbours.
“Some of the youth need a lot of support or help with budgeting or with shopping, all of those things. It would be so much better to have them all in the same place, so we don’t have outside influences from adults and other people that might live in the building.”
Each unit will be furnished by Home Base YK and provide a kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, and living room.
Roberts said an on-site office will support tenants.
The organization has purchased the lot adjacent to the building with a view to constructing more housing in the future.
People moving into the apartments will likely be youth who previously used Home Base’s dorm facilities or emergency shelter.
Robert said getting to know the tenants would be crucial to providing support as they work to access education, employment, or help with addictions or trauma.
“You have the ability to get to know them a little bit and see some of the areas they might be struggling in – and some of the things they might be good at – so you can really support them in letting that light shine,” she said.
“Our whole goal is to provide support for them that is going to be able to help them with their transition to independent living or some other long-term placement.”
Home Base already operates youth dorms for up to 10 people on 52 Street – formerly known as the Hope’s Haven building – and a neighbouring emergency shelter that provides overnight accommodation and services for people aged 12 to 24.
In the longer term, the organization helps youth find homes of their own. People living in the dorms are typically offered the ability to sublet an apartment in Home Base’s name. Eventually, tenants can transition to having the lease in their own name.
“It gives them something to look forward to, it gives them this drive and this goal to have their own place,” said Roberts.
“Sometimes for homeless youth, it just appears it is expected you’re going to be a homeless adult because you don’t have the support you need in order to break that cycle.
“Seeing that excitement in the youth – to have something that they’re working toward – is really amazing to see, because every youth needs something to look forward to.”