The Mayor of Sioux Lookout is questioning the use of tax dollars to house 21 homeless people in the community's shelter.

In the past 11 months there have been almost 100 calls for paramedics to the shelter, Dennis Leney said, adding that calls for police intervention are more than twice that number.


Sioux Lookout Mayor Dennis Leney says the community's shelter costs need to be reigned in. (

Leney said the cost to provide these services works out to about $54,000 for each resident of the shelter — something he feels needs to be addressed.

"None of them are residents of Sioux Lookout," he said.

"They've arrived here for whatever reason — whether they've been kicked off of their hometowns. We have no restrictions on them consuming alcohol other than the residences where they come from. So, it’s kind of a win-win situation for them if that's all they want to do."

Leney said there are three people at the Sioux Lookout Out of the Cold shelter who are like "permanent residents," as they've been there for years. He said the shelter is not being used as an emergency refuge anymore and it has taken on a totally different role.

"My feeling is that the police pick up somebody for intoxicated, they keep them in the cells for a few hours, they go back outside, or they get intoxicated again and picked up again by the police or they end up back at the homeless shelter and the police get called again," Leney said.

"It's just a revolving circle that isn't really helping the people that need the help."

Leney noted the Kenora District Social Services Board will, by next year, create a plan to deal with homelessness, addiction, policing and social housing issues.