The aging Alexander Street Residence will soon be used to house 15 to 20 Yukoners with cognitive disabilities, such as fetal-alcohol syndrome disorder, the territory announced Wednesday.
Elderly residents who now occupy the facility will move in the next few weeks to a new building now open at Waterfront Place, across from the Whitehorse Health Centre at Spook Creek.
The new Alexander Street operation, meanwhile, will be run by Challenge Community Vocational Alternatives, an outfit that currently provides job training to the disabled.
New residents will move in within “weeks, not months,” said Pat Living, a spokesperson for the Department of Health.
The Liberal Opposition was quick to claim credit for the idea. Nearly eight months ago, they proposed that the Alexander Street building be used to house the homeless.
But it’s not at all clear that’s what will now happen. To be eligible to stay at the Challenge-run operation, you have to be a Health and Social Services client with a cognitive disability.
It’s possible some of these clients are homeless, said Living. But they probably won’t include Whitehorse’s homeless, hard-core alcoholics.
“Likely not,” said Living, “unless there were other issues that met the criteria.”
Suitable clients would usually be able to handle basic, day-to-day activities themselves, said Living. But they may need help with banking and shopping for groceries. Other, higher-needs clients may need more regular supervision.
The 30-unit Waterfront Place residence was built for $11 million. It features a SuperGreen, energy-efficient design and apartments designed with passageways wide enough for wheelchairs to pass through.
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