Work has now begun on a first-of-its-kind facility in Edmonton that supports the Indigenous community.
Treaty 8 leaders work together to provide youth with a space where they can grow and learn without having to worry about finding a place to sleep each night.
The traditional drums played during the ceremony Wednesday in Edmonton represent a monumental construction for the future of Treaty 8.
“This is the first time in history that we have services that will be provided by Treaty 8 to Treaty 8 (people) outside of our First Nations and within the city of Edmonton,” said Loretta Bellerose, Executive Director of Treaty 8 Urban Child and Family Services.
On Wednesday, officials broke ground on a new $35 million affordable housing complex. The goal is to ease the transition of youth out of the foster care system. They will have housing for up to 10 years, eliminating a major burden for many: housing uncertainty.
“When they turn 26, we hope that they will be educated, that they will move into adulthood and that they will be able to stand on their own feet, having given them all the necessary support to do so,” said Bellerose.
By next year, two apartment buildings will be built including 62 residences, kitchens, mental health and well-being resources as well as space to prepare for the future.
“It will give them an opportunity, I guess, to make something of themselves to further their education, careers or hopefully bigger things,” said Chief Wilfred Hooka-Nooza of the First Dene Tha nation.
“It’s a hope that our young people are successful, no matter where they come from, if they have a connection with someone who cares for them, they will be successful in life.”
The project is a cooperation between all levels of government. City officials say this is another step toward reconciliation.
“My heart is so full of love because one of the things that has been taken away from so many people, the ability to dream and feel like they have a future,” said Ward Dene Coun. Aaron Paquette.
Treaty 8 Urban Child and Family Services aims to have both facilities operational by next fall.
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