Funds for crime fight
Federal government awards cash for prevention programs

Dawn Ostrem
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (May 01/00) - The federal government affirmed over a half-million dollars was spent on crime prevention programs in the Northwest Territories over the past year-and-a-half.

And the feds have awarded a further $566,030 to fund 26 crime prevention projects focusing on youth in several western territory communities.

"We've been dealing with so many difficult issues regarding young people," said Western Arctic MP and secretary of state for children and youth Ethel Blondin-Andrew, who made the funding announcement at J.H. Sissons school in Yellowknife, April 27.

"But teachers, parents and care-givers have to be a part of this. I'm happy about the resources but I'm worried whether the other chunk of support will come."

The National Strategy funds the Joint Management Committee, which is made up of federal and territorial bodies as well as community representatives, decides which programs to assist.

"Within each proposal that is submitted there is clearly a focus on how that project is going to work," said the committee's co-chair Gunther Laube. "The goals and objectives have to be clearly defined."

Last year, a Fort Smith youth program -- Roots and Wings -- received $50,000 to help fund a youth centre located in the community friendship centre. The youth centre helps promote a positive social atmosphere for youth, and the money helped pay the salaries of two organizers and materials.

Roots and Wings has implemented a successful lunch program, an after-school homework program and has acquired computers.

Three community projects that have been granted funding in the last month are the Lutsel K'e Health and Social Services Youth Camp 2000 Conference, $25,000; Aklavik Youth Crime Prevention program, $25,000; the Holman Elders Committee, $11,300 -- elders will teach traditional skills to youth out on the land.