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A place to grow

The Issue: 
Questions raised at Inuvik debate

No longer homeless itself, the Emergency Warming Centre Society can resume its important work of helping those who need it most.

Last week, the society and Ground Search and Rescue organizations went before town council to ask for the use of the Berger Building, more commonly known as the former home of Inuvik Works. Ground Search and Rescue (GSAR) withdrew its application and after some discussion, the building was sold to the society for $1, allowing it to get underway with preparations to open by the end of the month.

While it’s good that the situation did not result in two groups scrapping over limited resources, it did highlight the needs organizations in town are facing and the help that is needed to meet them.

Community groups are always looking for more resources and more options. While a building is a major commitment, it can also lend itself to an increase in programming as well as -- obviously -- a concrete space around which to gather.

The now-defunct Inuvik Works program was brought up at both the most recent MLA candidates’ forum and the municipal forum last month. People spoke of it as something that truly worked for this community and regretted that it was no longer operating, all the while pointing towards the successes that are still apparent.

While there are certainly many more hurdles than just a building to getting such a program up and running again, it may be worth considering now that the program’s former home is back in public discussion.

There is nothing to say that a single group could -- or should -- take on this admittedly large task. As we keep hearing, going it alone rarely results in longevity of organizations and their initiatives. When people and groups work together, however, much more can be accomplished.

Those partnerships are already in place simply by the nature of living in a small community. Often boards share members with each other as there are a limited number of people who are truly active in such things. On the one hand, this makes it easier to communicate between organizations, but on the other, it means the same people are always the ones doing the brunt of the work. While the tireless volunteer is an attractive narrative, it’s tough on the ones living it.

At the candidates’ forum Nov. 12, a resident asked a heartfelt question about homelessness in the community and received a round of applause from the audience and passionate answers from the candidates. Hopefully that sentiment and outpouring of concern for the people who need a second chance or a helping hand will extend to action with an existing group seeking to help those in need, or perhaps even to new initiatives with fresh ideas.

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