No place to call home
Cutbacks threaten 57 transitional apartments

by Cheryl Leschasin
Northern News Services

NNSL (Mar 26/97) - Northern United Place resident Mary Cleary is worried she may not have a place to call home at this time next year.

"I have no idea where they'll put us," Cleary said in an interview, referring to other residents of the building as well.

The YWCA is considering closing 57 building residences as a result of NWT Housing Corporation funding cuts. The closure would affect 67 men, women and children.

In a recent meeting to discuss the room closures, referral group representatives recommended the YWCA implement a one-year transition period to minimize gaps in low-income housing availability.

The 45 representatives also expressed concern about the needs of nine physically and mentally challenged people who live in the residences.

The complex is equipped with wheelchair ramps, elevators and in-house counsellors. The same services may not be available in whatever alternative housing they move to. Also, the buildings' proximity to doctors, dentists and banks makes an already tough situation easier for residents.

Cleary became a resident of the building in January 1996 after she suffered a mild stroke. Physically disabled and unable to return home to who Cleary described is an abusive husband, she was referred to the YWCA and placed on a floor designated for battered women.

Most residents spend from three to nine months living there. Clients also include single people as well as families who are searching for work or affordable accommodation.

The NWT Housing Association requires a minimum four-month Northern residency period to be considered for subsidized housing.

The building shelters those who are waiting for residency status and those still on the waiting list for housing.

In Cleary's case, a permanent housing situation may still be a long way off. She is single with no dependants and therefore remains close to the bottom of the housing priority list.