Yellowknife's day and sobering centre in March 2021. Ollie Williams/Cabin Radio
For the second time in half a year, the NWT government says nobody has come forward to run Yellowknife’s day shelter and sobering centre.
The NWT’s health authority is trying to find a group to run a relatively new day shelter established near the legislature and a separate sobering centre on 50 Street.
The NWT Disabilities Council ran a combined day shelter and sobering centre on 50 Street until the end of March 2022, when its contract expired. The disabilities council rejected a request from the health authority to continue running the facility for another six months while a request for proposals was issued, citing initial uncertainty about such an extension and a need to look to new projects.
Since April, the health authority has kept the downtown sobering centre open but closed the 50 Street day shelter in favour of focusing efforts on a separate shelter several blocks away, initially opened as a temporary expansion during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The health authority now says a second request for proposals, issued in October, closed in December – again with no proposals received.
Last year, the health authority said it was already committed to running the facilities at least until the end of March 2023 while the search for a new operator continued. With nobody coming forward, the authority appears to have no choice but to continue operating the day shelter and sobering centre indefinitely.
“The NTHSSA will continue to operate this service as we determine next steps,” a spokesperson said last week.