Crystal Schick/Yukon News file Kristina Craig, executive director of the Yukon Anti-Poverty Coalition, at a press announcement in Whitehorse on Jan. 25, 2018. Craig spoke to the News about living wage on Oct. 31.

Yukon Anti-Poverty Coalition releases new ‘Surviving in Yukon’ guide

The associated HelpSeeker app is coming in February

The Yukon Anti-Poverty Coalition has released its most recent booklet detailing services available for those in need, with an associated app to be released in the coming weeks.

This marks the 23rd edition of the booklet, currently called Surviving in Yukon: Your guide to free and low cost goods and services, which is now up to 36 pages with a French edition anticipated to be available early in 2020.

This year’s edition includes a calendar detailing where and when free food is available and lists 70 service providers. Copies are available in both print and through the YAPC’s website .

The HelpSeeker app is anticipated to go live with listings of Yukon services in February. It allows service providers to provide up to date information including addresses, directions, hours, contact information and programs they offer.

Yukon Anti-Poverty Coalition executive director Kristina Craig said in a Dec. 23 interview officials are working with the city, Whitehorse Public Library and Northwestel to ensure there are places where anyone downtown can gain access to the HelpSeeker app and that the public knows where those places are.

“We’re very aware not everyone has a phone, not everyone has data,” she said, adding the coalition has raised the same issue over the city’s plans to have a Whitehorse transit app available before the start of the 2020/2021 school year.

She said the Whitehorse library downtown has public computers available for use, and there’s a Northwestel kiosk on Main Street also available to all. City facilities also offer free wifi for those who have a smartphone, tablet or computer.

The HelpSeeker app may also be used for service providers who are accessing information on other services in the community to provide to clients, Craig pointed out.

And just as the city plans to continue providing printed transit schedules and information after the app is in place, the coalition will also continue printing its Surviving in Yukon guide.

Craig said the addition of the HelpSeeker app has the potential to better ensure the contact information for the Surviving in Yukon guide is up-to-date with each new printing.

As Craig outlined, the current process involves the help of a coalition volunteer contacting organizations to make sure their information is up to date, make changes as necessary and then format it for the publication.

“It’s not an exact science,” she said, noting the coalition does everything it can to make sure the most up-to-date information is published in the guide.

While there will still be work to ensure information is up to date for future printed editions of the guide, it’s anticipated service providers will edit their information on the app as changes happen with that information easy to access.

She noted, for example, the Canadian Mental Health Association recently moved to Baxter Street. Had the guide been published earlier, the newest edition may not have featured its current Baxter Street address.

This marked the second printing of a Surviving in Yukon guide in 2019 with the first happening early in the year due to a number of changes in service providers since the beginning of the year.

Among those changes were the Yukon government taking over running of the emergency shelter from the Salvation Army; the closure of Many Rivers Counselling and Support Services with Canadian Mental Health Association, All Genders Yukon and the government’s Mental Wellness and Substance Use Services branch taking over the service delivery of counselling services previously provided by Many Rivers; and the opening of a new Canada Revenue Agency office inside the Elijah Smith Building on Main Street.

Craig noted the app will mean service providers can ensure their most up-to-date information is available to the public.

Early in 2020, agencies listed in the Surviving in Yukon guide will be contacted about the app to ensure all their information is up to date before HelpSeeker for the Yukon launches. Others will also be welcome to sign up to be listed on the app over the month of January.

In the meantime, physical copies of Surviving in Yukon will continue to be available through the YAPC.

“We’re pleased to have this next edition into people’s hands,” Craig said in a statement. “The guide is very popular and is a great tool for people who rely on these services, those who are new to the territory and front-line staff. We’ve seen many changes in services over the past 10 months so it’s important to have a new edition out the door.”

Contact Stephanie Waddell at stephanie.waddell@yukon-news.com

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