Yellowknife street outreach program begins Monday, funded until end of the year

The City of Yellowknife’s street outreach program begins Monday in conjunction with a temporary sobering centre a the Yellowknife Community Arena.

Program will assist intoxicated people in need of help with a trip to a shelter or the sobering centre

Two people sleep it off in Yellowknife on July 7, 2017. A new street outreach program launched by the City of Yellowknife and partners means those who want a safe place to sober up now have one, as well as a way to get to it. (Walter Strong/CBC)

Starting Monday, the City of Yellowknife will have a street outreach program. The service, funded by the city, will be headed up by the Yellowknife Women's Society.

Staff and volunteers from the society will monitor the downtown area with the mandate to help intoxicated people in need.

According to a city press release, the program will run seven days a week from 1 p.m. to 1 a.m., with staff and volunteers operating on foot and in a marked van.

"This model has worked very well in other jurisdictions and we feel that the outreach program will complement additional homelessness initiatives currently underway," stated Mayor Mark Heyck in the press release.

Yellowknife Mayor Mark Heyck announced the launch of a street outreach program for this city on Friday. (CBC)

"In addition the program should ease the call volume to emergency responders."

The program will provide intoxicated people in need of help with care and transportation to a shelter or a temporary sobering centre located in the Yellowknife Community Arena. The arena is not in use during summer months.

Funds to run the program until Dec. 31, 2017, were set aside in the 2017 budget. Continued funding for the program into next year will be determined during the 2018 budget process.

The idea of a street outreach service combined with a temporary sobering centre was announced earlier this year.

City says the public can help

Starting Monday, a person can call a street outreach hotline phone number if there is concern that an intoxicated person needs assistance.

The street outreach hotline is (867) 445-7202.

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