Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

READY FOR YOUTH – Formerly a B&B, 22 Wann Rd. has been repurposed into a multi-platform support network for youth. The house has been renamed Nts’ äw Chua, which means ‘wild rhubarb little creek’ in Southern Tutchone.

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

Image title

Photo by Vince Fedoroff

Image title

Photo by Vince Fedoroff

Image title

Photo by Vince Fedoroff

Image title

Photo by Vince Fedoroff

Image title

Photo by Vince Fedoroff

Image title

Photo by Vince Fedoroff

Image title

Photo by Vince Fedoroff

Supportive live-in program for youth launched

A supportive live-in and outreach program for youth has launched at 22 Wann Rd. in Porter Creek as an alternative to group care.

By Gabrielle Plonka on December 9, 2019

A supportive live-in and outreach program for youth has launched at 22 Wann Rd. in Porter Creek as an alternative to group care.

“It’s not a group home, it’s an opportunity for youth to succeed,” Health and Social Services Minister Pauline Frost said Friday. “It’s a life skills program with a housing component.”

The program launched with a Friday morning media conference at the new facility.

Attendees were given a tour of the building, which has been repurposed into a multi-platform support network for youth aged 15 to 19 years old.

The government paid $1.1 million to buy the house and invested another $1.35 million into renovations and planning and assessment work.

The house has been renamed Nts’ äw Chua (in-so chua), which means “wild rhubarb little creek” in Southern Tutchone. The name was selected by a committee of First Nations elders and youth, after the traditional name for the Porter Creek neighbourhood.

The building is split into two sections. On one side there is a shared kitchen, dining room, living room and recreational space.

Upstairs are four bedrooms geared toward youth aged 15-17.

This section of the house will be home to community programming, with staff members present 24/7.

In the basement there are two larger suites intended for flexible housing options: for example, to house families visiting residents or young mothers in need of a larger space.

On the other side of the building there are four semi-private suites for youth aged 17-19.

These suites are separate from the main building and intended to simulate apartment-style living.

The suites each contain a kitchenette and in-suite bathroom.

Residents of the semi-private suites will sign a mock landlord-tenant agreement outlining some conditions for continued residency, as gauged by monthly suite inspections.

Staff members told tour attendees that efforts were made to ensure Nts’ äw Chua doesn’t feel like an institution, and the design is intended to feel as “homey” as possible.

When residents start moving in, they will have some input on decor in the shared living spaces.

Frost told attendees that the program is based on community-focused support for youth preparing to transition out of government care.

“Young people transitioning out of care often face a wide range of barriers and deal with complex life experiences,” Frost said. “We need to do more to support them and help them prepare for adulthood.”

The building will house youth who have applied for the Nts’ äw Chua program and who are committed to engaging in the life skills training.

While living at Nts’ äw Chua, youth will have access to 24/7 support from staff.

Staffing will include a youth culinary mentor to teach meal planning and cooking; a natural supports liaison to foster connection with family and community; and a youth outreach worker to help access community supports and achieve goals.

Residents will take part in action-planning for their futures through setting goals and breaking those goals down into smaller “action steps”.

“This program will provide a safe, supportive environment where residents can focus on healing, learning valuable life skills, and build or rebuild a support network,” said a government release.

The four guiding philosophies of the program are family and community connection; supportive and semi-independent living; skill-building; and youth empowerment.

Nts’ äw Chua will also provide outreach services to youth who are not residents. A multipurpose outreach room has a shared living space, a computer, a shower and laundry machines.

Anyone is welcome to visit the outreach room, utilize these services, get support or spend time with elders.

The building sits on a large property. Staff told attendees there are plans for a fire pit and gardening in the warmer months.

An indoor recreational space is home to a ping pong table, tools and treadmill.

Simone Fournel, a senior policy project analyst in the Family and Children’s Services Department, told media Friday morning that Nts’ äw Chua is based on a “two-eyed seeing model” framework of youth support that is unique to the Yukon.

It is unique, because it places the onus on the youth to take responsibility for their own growth, she said.

“Part of the life skills training is really about the individual wanting to do better,” Fournel said.

The framework is flexible and will adapt to the individual needs of each resident, Fournel said. Some residents might attend public school or college, while others might be finishing their education at the independent learning centre.

Instead of directly providing residents with support services, the program is guided by the principle of “do with, not for.” For example, a staff member might help a resident locate community counselling services or apply for student loans.

Nts’ äw Chua’s application process is not intensive, but aims to help staff identify what the residents’ goals and ambitions will be when they enter the program.

There are currently two applications being considered, though Fournel estimates “many more” youth are currently considering applying.

Comments (16)

Up 1 Down 3

Elect a bad government on Dec 16, 2019 at 12:51 pm

Hey Spud, I can assure you my name is not Ted, and my head is actually rather small. I do know the guy of whom you speak though, and find it quite rude that you would personalize the comment section based on your own assumptions. That's not fair to anyone, namely the person you are accusing of being me. I do not work in politics, but I do vote YP - you are correct. And I still think this "we are doing amazing things and fixing huge mistakes made by the previous government" facade is getting tiresome.

Up 4 Down 1

Charlie's Aunt on Dec 13, 2019 at 5:36 pm

Meanwhile, when I drove by there today - lights on and no-one home! Christmas decs look pretty though.

Up 9 Down 11

Spud on Dec 13, 2019 at 11:11 am

Dear vote YP and end up with a bad government. If anyone sounds like a political staffer it is you (big head ted). Although you might enjoy a few thumbs up on this site, let me remind you that the Yukon Liberals enjoy a majority government, mainly because Yukoners see through your same old "we are for the working man" hogwash when what you are really saying is we are for ourselves and our friends, which does not include hard working Yukon taxpayers.

Up 20 Down 10

Elect a bad government, live with bad decisions on Dec 12, 2019 at 4:14 pm

OK Yukoner 31. Called me out on this one. If the Yukon Party was still in power 22 Wann would still be a B&B, the neighbours wouldn't be pissed, there wouldn't be at-risk youth moving in across from bars, liquor store, and daycare. If the Yukon Party was still in power, the Salvation Army would still have control of the shelter and people wouldn't be able to be drunk in and out of the building. If the Yukon Party was still in power, a lot of things wouldn't have happened over the last three years.

This is just one of many things this new government has done wrong. Don't kid yourself. You sound like a Liberal staff member trying to defend your bosses.

Be careful before you make yourself look stupid criticizing the Yukon Party. They could have done some things differently - but considering what they did get done and the things they NEVER would have done, you should probably be careful saying THEY were the ones bungling anything.

Up 26 Down 3

obi on Dec 12, 2019 at 12:42 pm

I cannot find the words to comment on this fiscal stupidity! So I'll use those of someone else, who was a lot wiser.
"The art of government consists of taking as much money as possible from one class of citizens, to give to another" Voltaire 1750 AD

Up 14 Down 3

Brenda on Dec 11, 2019 at 7:00 pm

There are no words for this - 2 years and how many months? They are considering applications ? The funny thing about it is the manager they bought this “thing” for to hide him is no longer there. He jumped on the closest lifeboat when the “fire” known as PIDWA was about to be released. Again there are no words for any of this - hopefully a few youth will get help. A little too late for a lot and you can not wipe the stink off this !

Up 7 Down 23

Yukoner31 on Dec 11, 2019 at 5:37 pm

@Elect a Bad
It could be a lot worse, imagine if we stuck with the Yukon Party in the last election!? The price tag would be at least double. Man, they seemed to bungle every project they touched (anyone remember the FH Collins fiasco?). Now their leader will be from the former government unless someone else steps forward. It's like they've learned nothing. Anyways, at the end of the day it's good there is a home for these youths from broken families. I don't envy the lives they've been given. Hopefully many of these kids become self sufficient members of society.

Up 13 Down 34

Joe on Dec 11, 2019 at 1:13 am

What a great project, great location and such an essential need for transitioning kids. Should open another in Riverdale.

Up 22 Down 5

jc on Dec 10, 2019 at 5:50 pm

"places the onus on the youth to take responsibility for their own growth". Uhh yeah!. From one who has spent years giving care, the jury's still out on that one.

Up 30 Down 6

comen sense on Dec 10, 2019 at 5:41 pm

Government spending out of control with tax money from our hard work. You hear it more now - large price tags on projects for few people.

Up 21 Down 4

Cameron on Dec 10, 2019 at 4:55 pm

Let me understand this: the “final” cost is 2.5 million and they are considering two applications ? The place is not full ? Why did this take so long - I thought they were welcoming youth in the summer ? Who answers for this - right that manager who bolted when the group home report found wrong doing. Had to bring someone else in to clean up the mess. Way to go you finally got it done.

Up 32 Down 4

Lost In the Yukon on Dec 10, 2019 at 4:10 pm

Another successful project brought to you (the tax paying citizen’s of the Yukon) by the same people who brought you the Wellness (Do what you want even if it is heroin in the washrooms) Centre and the policy of locking kids out in the dead of winter, and the $200k a year mystery Deputy Minister ... don’t be confused if the leadership of the Department seems somewhat erratic and all over the map ... because IT IS!

Up 27 Down 5

Groucho d'North on Dec 10, 2019 at 3:17 pm

Pretty swank digs for training kids how to live on minimum wage.
Must be a government project.

Up 46 Down 10

Elect a bad government, live with bad decisions on Dec 10, 2019 at 9:01 am

1.1 million to buy it, over 1 million to renovate. Took over 2 years to get 'er done. For 10 kids - some of which will not care to keep it nice. Let that sink in. Can't wait for the operating and repair costs.

Up 35 Down 6

Matthew on Dec 10, 2019 at 6:01 am

So.. 2.5M for 4 bedrooms? Is that right? Wow, horrible investment. Can build small apt complex for that. Better off building new..

Up 34 Down 11

Guncache on Dec 9, 2019 at 10:15 pm

Waste of taxpayer money.

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