Living in the HomeBase Yellowknife Dorms means youth can have a safe space to call home. Youth get access to clean rooms, healthy food, hot showers and dedicated navigators that support youth in their daily lives. But, living in a group home also means youth miss out on the opportunity to decorate and personalize their space. Most people who grew up in family homes remember the thrill of getting to pick a new wall color, hang their favorite band poster on the wall and then lounge on a new bean bag chair with their siblings, admiring the new space.
This is exactly the experience we want to provide for the youth in our care. Through this funding we hope to provide youth living in the dorms the opportunity to personalize their space and also landscape the outdoor space. One of the best parts about living in Yellowknife is being able to experience the beautiful midnight sun throughout the summer and the northern lights in winter. Giving youth a space where they can engage the outdoors from the safety of their home will be instrumental.
The Side Door Ministries (rebranding to Home Base Yellowknife), is a charitable organization in Yellowknife that has existed for more than 25 years trying to prevent, reduce, and eliminate youth homelessness. The organization was founded as a result of an identified need among youth, the community and government to have an empowerment-based program available to youth. The majority of the youth in the organization are or have been in temporary or permanent care. Almost all youth who are part of the HomeBase community identify as Indigenous, Black, People of Colour, 2SLGBTQQIPAA+, people with disabilities, women and girls, and low income who are living in remote and rural communities and are, or have experienced homelessness.
The vision of Home Base Yellowknife, is “No youth left out.” And our mission is to provide housing and support to youth in Yellowknife in order for them to achieve life-long success.
In 2020, we had the opportunity to receive funding to enhance the common spaces at the dorms, within days we began seeing the positive impact this change had on the youth. We hope that by enhancing the dorm rooms and the outdoor space, youth can really come to see the space as their home. We believe that this change in orientation will have a lasting, positive effect on the youth.
Who Will it Benefit?
The primary benefits of this project will go to the vulnerable youth who live at the HomeBase Dorms. Many of these come to HomeBase after experiencing homelessness or precarious living conditions. Because of this, many of them have never had a space they can call home and call theirs. At the HomeBase Dorms we are committed to ensuring that all youth feel comfortable and safe in their home, regardless of how permanent and/or temporary their stay is. Similarly, we believe that allowing youth to express themselves in their decor has long term positive effects.
Being able to give youth a comfortable space to relax and enjoy the outdoors is important. Many of the youth have asked for an outdoor place where they can hang out and invite friends. Making the front yard of the HomeBase Dorms accessible will give youth this opportunity. Furthermore, the HomeBase Dorms are located on the same property of the emergency youth shelter and the two locations share a front yard. While we have recently renovated the emergency youth shelter, we believe that dozens of youth who use this space will also benefit from the outdoor space.
Lastly, is our intention to purchase as much of the objects locally to contribute positively to the local economy. Similarly, we will work with local businesses for the painting, and landscaping needs. However, we aim to have the youth who live at the dorms help with the labour so they 1) can learn valuable skills and 2) take pride in their work and the space they’ve created. We believe exposing youth to these local businesses will inspire them to engage with the local community.