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By Michael Christianson
Dryden Development Corporation office manager Nicole Gale presented information to council on Monday about the Homeward Bound program and looked for direction to implement the program in the city.
Homeward Bound is a four year pilot program adopted from Southern Ontario which provides wrap around services (housing, living allowance, training, childcare, and social supports) for pre-screened aboriginal single mothers to improve their overall quality of life.
“I think the project is very timely and it’s important,” said Gale. “I know from looking at our demographics in population growth over the last four or five years that Aboriginal youth is our fastest growing demographic at this point. They’re only surpassed by our senior population at this point, we kind of have a juxtaposition so to speak between youth and senior populations; that’s our two main categories and I know that’s the other avenue is looking at having support and structures in place for seniors as well, that’s another important aspect moving forward.”
The process is in the early planning stages but Gale participated in a planning meeting last March and met with various stakeholders including KDSB, Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services, Confederation College, Northwestern Health Unit, amoung others.
So far DDC has provided site selection services to the project, assisted with a Trillium funding application for a project coordinator and provided a letter of support resolution in favour of the project date.
The DDC invited council to participate in the project and council chose to adopt a general letter of support for the Dryden Native Friendship Centre’s application