Funding for the completion of more than 60 additional affordable housing units in Yellowknife is officially in the books.
The announcement was made at City Hall Monday at a news conference attended by all levels of government, including Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion, Ahmed Hussen. The federal government is picking up the lion’s share of the funding at $23 million.
The money will be divided between two locations.
The Spruce Bough, formerly the Arnica Inn on Franklin Street, will see the construction of an additional 42 bachelor units for at-risk men and women in the community.
Construction is expected to be completed by December 2023.
The facility is run by the Yellowknife Women’s Society which contributed more than $150,000 to the project. The GNWT gave $620,000.
The remaining 21 units are being built in downtown Yellowknife next to Lynn’s Place, an affordable rental project for women and children that is administered by the YWCA NWT. The organization also contributed over $1 million toward the project.
The new building is being called Lynn’s Place II although a name change is being considered.
Construction began in May 2022 and is expected to be completed by July 2023.
The YWCA says there are approximately 50 families on its waiting list for affordable housing in Yellowknife.
In all, 63 low-income units are being built, funded in large part through round-two of the federal government’s Rapid Housing Initiative. And Minister Hussen says more money is on the way.
“There’s a third round coming and you can rest assured that the NWT is included.”
The Mayor of Yellowknife, Rebecca Alty, says at last estimate, there are more than 300 homeless people in Yellowknife.
She says that Monday’s housing announcement won’t solve Yellowknife’s homelessness problem, but adds it’s a good start.
“We know that Lynn’s expansion will provide 21 units but they need more than that. It’s a step in the right direction.”
In 2017, Yellowknife announced a plan to end homelessness within 10 years.