NW Week

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Northwest Territories takes tentative steps to fill aftercare gaps

Health and social services minister Julie Green

Key Takeaways:

  • As an example, the territory’s health minister stated last week that 13 groups have so far requested funds from a fund designed to improve addiction aftercare in communities.
  • Community governments also non-profits are being asked to express their willingness to try that approach.

Julie Green stated that a fund established over the summer was “top-rated.” Indigenous governments were the first to apply, followed by community and non-profit organizations.

Up to $68,000 is available per applicant for projects that aid addiction recovery and aftercare programming in the territories’ communities.

The GNWT stated earlier this year that a total of $780,000 is available, implying that the fund is now close to being oversubscribed. It was planned to run on a first-come, first-served basis until March.

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The names of specific applicants were not disclosed, nor was the amount of money distributed so far. Green did, however, say, in response to a question from Monfwi MLA Jane Weyallon Armstrong, that the Tch Community Services Agency had not yet applied.

Weyallon Armstrong had asked Green how the territory could relocate more addiction recovery services away from Yellowknife and into smaller communities.

Health and social services minister Julie Green; Image from Cabin radio

“Our people require government action to assist those suffering from alcoholism and drug addiction.” “The government must be more effective and collaborate with people in the regions and communities, not just in Yellowknife,” she said. “I am aware that 5% of the government’s operational budget is dedicated to addressing addictions, but this is insufficient.”

Green stated that various funding programs are being made available to assist Indigenous and community governments in providing local support, rather than the territory directly managing such efforts.

Weyallon Armstrong pressed Green on how the territory provides explicitly wraparound services, such as childcare, counseling, and career coaching, to people in their twenties to forties suffering from addictions.

The health minister stated that her government is launching a transitional housing program to assist people in finding housing after they leave southern treatment facilities.

So-called sober houses of that type are not currently available in the territory. Still, they are a step toward the kind of local aftercare that many NWT leaders have long argued is harmfully lacking.

Source: cabin radio News

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