Yellowknife day shelter closing without a replacement
Health authority hopes to have plan in place by September for new day shelter
Yellowknife's day shelter for the homeless on 51 Street will close its doors at the end of March.
For the past four years, an average of 70 people have come to the shelter each day for warmth, a meal, or a place to sleep.
Lydia Bardak with the John Howard Society says it's a vital service for the city.
“We have a large population in Yellowknife of people who are severely, chronically and multiply disabled and who are dealing with trauma and addiction,” Bardak says.
Many of the visitors spend their nights at the Salvation Army shelter and then when it shuts in the morning, they walk the few blocks to the day shelter.
But the group that funds it is not satisfied with the current situation.
Yellowknife Health and Social Services Authority CEO Les Harrison says more could be done for the people who use the shelter.
“Some people go into the shelter and they just want to sleep. But there are other people that might benefit from diversion into other programs, so I think we need to take a look into a broader perspective,” Harrison says.
That was far from the minds of Sophie Thrasher and Pauline Michelle who were at the shelter Tuesday.
“It's cold. At least I come here to sleep," Thrasher says. "Lydia and everyone gives us time to relax here.”
Michelle said she didn't understand why the day shelter would be shut down.
“This place opens up at seven in the morning," she says. "They provide food and they give you comfort if you ask it, and the people that work here are very good."
There’s hope a temporary facility could open for the rest of the winter but that would require another organization to step forward and offer its services.
The Yellowknife Health and Social Services Authority says it aims to have a plan in place by September for a new day shelter.