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YWCA and SideDoor move into temporary downtown office space

After months of searching for a space to call home, the SideDoor youth centre and NWT YWCA have moved into the office space above the post office on Franklin Avenue.

The SideDoor youth centre, along with NWT YWCA, have moved into the office space above the Canada Post on Franklin Avenue. Photo courtesy of Jordan Epelon.

Tammy Roberts, SideDoor's executive director, said the resource centre provides a spot for youth “to hang out when they don’t have another place to go.” In addition to providing a location with WiFi and computers for youth, the centre is putting the space to use for its various workshops and programs such as those pertaining to mentoring, housing and tenancy, literacy and education. 

The SideDoor team moved into the downtown building on Jan. 4. They had been operating out of Hope's Haven on 52 Street in the interim, but the location was too small to serve the transitional housing program and the youth resource centre, Roberts said. 

The NWT YWCA moved into the new 50 Street location on Jan. 13. 

The downtown office, formerly occupied by the Native Women’s Association of the NWT, is being occupied on a six-month lease while the two organizations wait for the current temporary day shelter to become vacant in the late spring. 

Before the GNWT enacted a state of emergency to declare the Mine Rescue building on 50 Street as the new temporary day shelter, the SideDoor youth centre and NWT YWCA were set to lease the downtown site. 

In early December, the organizations sent out an urgent social media message expressing they “need space immediately in downtown Yellowknife to deliver programs for a six-month term.” 

By the end of the month, the office space above Canada Post had been secured

The SideDoor will make us of the downtown space for its various youth programs and workshops.
photo courtesy of Jordan Epelon

NWT YWCA executive director Hawa Dumbuya-Sesay said the GNWT assisted the organizations in finding a location. Being downtown has been a priority throughout the process, she said, “because of where program participants are coming from.”

For now, Roberts said the downtown locations “fits perfectly for both of our spaces.”

“Everybody that is involved in the move, and the youth that already access the resource centre – and there are youth that access it every day – are really excited about the new space,” she said. “The energy is really positive.”