THUNDER BAY — If a zoning bylaw amendment goes ahead. an Indigenous organization will take an important step toward constructing a supportive housing complex for youth on Junot Avenue.
Thunder Bay city council last year agreed to donate a piece of city-owned land beside the Superior North EMS headquarters to Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services.
At the time, the organization was proposing a 20-bed, $3.6 million transitional home for Indigenous youth, with programming services provided by the Thunder Bay Indigenous Friendship Centre.
However, the application to add a specific use to the current zoning by-law, to allow this kind of project, shows the proposed capacity is now 58 beds, or almost three times the size of the original plan.
Officials with the Sault Ste. Marie-based OAHS could not immediately be reached Tuesday for comment.
It's not clear yet, either, how far they have progressed in obtaining funding for the project from senior levels of government.
The application diagrams show that in addition to the youth residence, the project would include a community resource centre, dining room, kitchen, offices, and a courtyard with a smoking area.
A survey last year found that two-thirds of nearly 500 homeless people in Thunder Bay are Indigenous, and about 40 per cent of all respondents are under the age of 34.