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Elders home opens

Paulatuk seniors excited, thrilled

Tara Kearsey
Northern News Services

Paulatuk (Jan 29/01) - Paulatuk elder Edward Ruben couldn't disguise his joy and gratitude as he walked through the door of his new home last week.

"I feel like I'm in a different world," Ruben exclaimed as he repetitively thanked the NWT Housing Corporation for blessing the community with their project.

Ruben and his wife Mabel can now move into one of the four units that make up the new seniors complex in Paulatuk.

Officials from the Housing Corp. in Inuvik and Inuvialuit Regional Corporation chairperson Nellie Cournoyea visited the hamlet Jan. 24 for the final inspection and official opening of the complex.

The building was designed to be wheelchair accessible. The door frames and hallways are wider and the bathrooms have been designed for individuals with mobility problems.

The complex is also centrally located so the elders will be just a short walk from the store and relatives living in town.

At the age of 83, Ruben has trouble getting around from place to place and will greatly benefit from the amenities his new home provides.

"I am so excited," he said. "I wouldn't even know how to thank these people for working so hard for us.

"In 1940, we had nothing ... now look around you - now we have everything. I am so grateful."

Mayor Keith Dodge said the complex will be a great help in the community. Not only does it meet the needs of local elders, it will help in alleviating the Paulatuk housing shortage as well.

"This is going to free up some of the units that (the elders) are living in which are badly needed right now.

"Another good thing about it is the elders will be closer to each other, they can reminisce with each other and visit each other, especially during the hard winter months we have here."

An elders complex identical to the Paulatuk facility has also been built in Tsiigehtchic. That building is scheduled to open its doors Feb. 2.