Northern News Services
Published Friday, August 31, 2007
YELLOWKNIFE - With a few strokes of a pen, the last funding questions for the $4.8 million Bailey House were answered in the legislative assembly's Great Hall last week.
National Homelessness Initiative: $1,576,893
Community Capacity Fund: $1,500,000
Diavik Diamond Mines Inc.: $50,000
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (towards design): $10,000
NWT Housing Corporation: $1,748,000
Total cost: $4,884, 893
Mayor Gord Van Tighem, NWT Premier Joe Handley and Salvation Army representative Paul Craig gathered Aug. 23 to sign a funding agreement that will see the NWT Housing Corporation put $1.7 million towards the transitional housing project for homeless men.
"Life is like a jigsaw puzzle," said Van Tighem. "Today, we're putting a final piece in the puzzle."
The three-storey building, which is under construction on the site of the old fire hall on Franklin Avenue, is expected to hold 32 living units. Of those, at least 16 are expected to be bachelor apartments. Two of those will be accessible to people with disabilities.
The project is being funded as a joint initiative between the territorial and federal governments, with contributions from Diavik Diamond Mines ($50,000) and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation ($10,000).
Lydia Bardak, co-chair of the Yellowknife Homelessness Coalition, said Yellowknife is in dire need of the building.
"We have people living in our homeless shelters, not using them for emergency purposes," she said.
She said Bailey House would fill a gap in current housing and homeless initiatives, wherein "single men didn't have a priority."
However, she added this move "addresses the needs of men first," with plans to expand to other groups in the future.
Van Tighem also praised those who had seen the project to fruition, though its roots stretch back to the late 90s.
"It's the only project I've heard of in the last couple of years that's stayed on budget," he said with a chuckle.
Bailey House is named after Rev. Gordon and Ruth Bailey, long-time Yellowknifers who were known for their charity and open-door policy to those in need of a place to stay.