Homelessness committee and Seven Generations partnership in the works

Merna Emara
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

There are talks between Seven Generations Education Institute and the homelessness committee on how SGEI can contribute to alleviate the problem of homelessness in Fort Frances.
Mayor June Caul and Brent Tookenay, chief executive officer at SGEI, have been discussing the possibility of SGEI joining a homelessness committee meeting to discuss how this can be achieved.
Caul said she had a conversation with Tookenay on taking part in a homelessness committee meeting to see how they can fit into the puzzle.
“I suggested when I talked to him I said what we need is a place where people can feel that they can call a safe place to go,” Caul said.
“[The place] where not only is there mental health support and victim services support, but support from possibly an organization like seven gens where people come in to start to teach life skills to get them back on their feet.”
Tookenay said although they are not formally part of the homelessness committee yet, they have the means to offer help.
SGEI has been working on issues similar in nature to those the homelessness committee is trying to solve, Tookenay said.
“We are working with the District Service Board in Kenora,” Tookenay said. “Some of the issues that they have in terms of homelessness and social housing are ones Mayor Caul and I started discussing. To me it is about having the agency and organizations that are available to support working together to support people.”
Caul said this partnership can be furthered by some of the homeless population the opportunity to go for some training such as skills trades or continued education to finish up their grade 12. Caul added that this will give them the chance to look at a future that might be a little bit brighter for them.
SGEI has training programs that enhance life and essential skills. Its approach is tailored to each individual need.
“Our organization is involved in everything from essential skills and life skills right up to degree and programs such as Bachelor of sciences and everything in between,” Tookenay said. “We have our own secondary school. We have adult education. We have a bunch of different options for people. So Mayor Caul and I had a good conversation about this and maybe that is the part that we could bring to the table.”