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Letter of Support: Indigenous Youth Supportive Housing Project

October 3, 2019

As part of our 2018 City of Opportunity platform, each member of City Council made a commitment to “proactively engage community groups, city agencies and social organizations to develop long term strategies to battle homelessness, addiction, mental illness and crime based on principles of harm reduction.” 

The Chamber feels that the construction of the Indigenous Youth Supporting Housing facility on Junot Avenue represents a step forward for Thunder Bay in its journey to becoming a City of Opportunity, and was pleased to see Council pass the bylaw amendment on Monday, October 21 to allow the project to move forward.

Below you’ll find the text of the letter submitted to the Thunder Bay Indigenous Friendship Centre and Thunder Bay City Council expressing our support for this important project.

October 3, 2019

Charlene Baglien
Thunder Bay Indigenous Friendship Centre
401 Cumberland Street North
Thunder Bay, ON P7A 4P7

Dear Charlene:
SUPPORT FOR INDIGENOUS YOUTH SUPPORTIVE HOUSING PROJECT
The Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce represents more than 800 community stakeholders including large and small business, not-for-profit organizations and charities. Our mission is to build a stronger business community. We do this through our advocacy work, by engaging our Members with one another and the community, and by providing tools for Member empowerment.

We are proud to count the Thunder Bay Indigenous Friendship Centre among our valued Members and to express our support for the Indigenous youth supportive housing initiative that your organization is leading in partnership with Métis Nation of Ontario, Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services, and the Ontario Native Women’s Association. This initiative will provide Indigenous youth with a safe place to call home, while supporting them in making the transition into adulthood with skills-building opportunities, educational upgrading, community and cultural supports.

This initiative will transform our community for the better by promoting social inclusion and community collaboration. It will be the second non-institutional, transitional housing development in the province designed specifically to improve upon the social and economic wellbeing of Indigenous youth who face unique barriers and challenges. It is a more fiscally responsible way of addressing the homelessness crisis as compared to the monthly costs of warehousing people in shelters ($1,932 per month), prisons ($1,333 per month), and hospitals ($10,900 per month) due to lack of housing.1

As part of our 2018 City of Opportunity platform, each member of City Council made a commitment to “proactively engage community groups, city agencies and social organizations to develop long term strategies to battle homelessness, addiction, mental illness and crime based on principles of harm reduction. We believe that this initiative provides an excellent opportunity for City Council members to put their commitment into action by voting in support of the zoning amendment for the Indigenous youth supportive housing project.

Best regards,
Charla Robinson
President

c. Mayor & Council

1 Gaetz, Stephen. (2012). The Real Cost of Homelessness: Can We Save Money by Doing the Right Thing? Toronto: Canadian Homelessness Research Network Press

The Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce' advocacy work is made possible thanks to the generous support of our

Cornerstone Members:

                            

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