Emergency shelters to keep people 'Out of the Cold' in Labrador
It's good news for the fight against homelessness. The Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corporation is spending $800,000 in a two-year emergency shelter pilot program in Happy Valley-Goose Bay.
The Out of the Cold project is part of the government's 10-year strategy to end homelessness in the province.
I'm optimistic that we will have this shelter up and running for this winter.- John Ottenheimer
It is open to all individuals and will provide basic shelter and housing to people who find themselves in crisis and emergency situations.
NLHC chair John Ottenheimer told CBC Radio's Labrador Morning that homelessness is a problem with different challenges in different regions.
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"There are a number of regions in the province that were identified as priority," said Ottenheimer.
"It became clear … that this funding for Happy Valley-Goose Bay in particular was critical."
Many factors in play
Climate, employment opportunities, social needs and addictions are some of the variables that are evaluated to determine how the issue is approached a community.
"Clearly one would think that the need would be greatest during the winter but if there is a need demonstrated, this is an injection of funds that we believe … will be sufficient to meet that need," added Ottenheimer.
The project will be overseen and administered by the Nunatsiavut government.
Ottenheimer said this partnership was important because Nunatsiavut is well-versed in support of housing services and projects.
Out of the Cold is not a permanent solution, but having the pilot project allows the housing corporation to evaluate the need in the area.
"If the individuals for whom these services are provided for are in fact using them, if it's making a difference in their lives … it's a part of the mission of [NLHC] to ensure that these services are provided and hopefully work," Ottenheimer said.
There is also funding for two other supportive housing units, one in Nain and the other in Hopedale.
These units will also operate under a partnership with the Nunatsiavut government. The single, detached dwellings will operate on much the same premise as the emergency shelter in Happy Valley-Goose Bay.
They may not be entirely restricted to emergency cases but will be available to individuals or families who find themselves in need of social housing.
The building in Hopedale is near completion while the contractor for the unit in Nain hasn't been selected.
The location for the shelter in Happy Valley-Goose Bay has not been finalized, but NLHC is working closely with the Nunatsiavut government and the town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay to finalize one, and get the project up and running.
"We're very close to the final site selection," said Ottenheimer.
"I'm optimistic that we will have this shelter up and running for this winter."