N.W.T. organizations get funding boost to tackle poverty

Dozens of N.W.T. organizations are getting a funding boost from the territorial government so they can tackle issues related to poverty.

The N.W.T. government announced on Wednesday it is dishing out $1 million from its anti-poverty fund to 43 different projects run by community and Indigenous-led organizations.

The focus of much of this year’s funding is food and housing security, according to the government.

Among some of the highest-earning recipients this year are the disabilities committee in Hay River, which is receiving $60,000 for a life-skills and employment program.

In Fort Smith, Uncle Gabe’s Friendship Centre will be getting $52,000 for an intergenerational empowerment project.

Yellowknife’s SideDoor youth resource centre has also been granted funding — $50,000 for a homelessness prevention program.

Funding slashed for some

However, one group says its funding was slashed in half from last year, and that means it will have to keep searching for funding from other places.

“Last year we got [$100,000] from the anti-poverty [fund],” said Joey Amos, manager of Inuvik’s emergency warming shelter — the John Wayne Kiktorak Centre.

This year, the N.W.T. awarded the group $50,000 from the anti-poverty fund.

“It really makes it hard for our budget, so we have to plan more wisely as to when we close and when we reopen again,” said Amos, who explained the shelter typically shuts down for a period in the summer and reopen in the fall.

“It definitely hurts, you know, knowing that we don’t have that additional [$50,000] … we’ve done some absolutely wonderful work this past winter.”

Amos said most of the money the shelter is receiving from the anti-poverty fund this year will likely be used to pay staff, something he said costs about $25,000 a month.

There are four full-time staff and six casual staff working at the warming shelter, said Amos.

‘Grateful for the community’

However, he is still thankful for the money and support the government has been able to give to the shelter this year.

“I just want to extend my appreciation,” said Amos. “They see the fruits of the work that the Inuvik emergency warming centre has done … I’m just so grateful for the community.”

Damien Healy, spokesperson with the Department of Health and Social Services, said the government is working to sign contribution agreements with the funding recipients.

Once that’s done, the money will be passed over to them, he said.

The N.W.T. government hands out $1 million from the anti-poverty fund annually. This year, it received 60 proposals for $4.4 million in funding, according to the government.

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