The van runs 12 hours a day – every day – through the streets, providing rides to at-risk residents. However, on Friday, it went out of service.
Yellowknife’s street outreach van, operated by the Yellowknife Women’s Society, broke down for the best part of a day, returning to service on Saturday. No backup vehicle exists.
The street outreach van provides, in the City of Yellowknife’s words, “safe rides for individuals who are at risk, vulnerable, or street-involved [who] are unable to travel safely on their own to shelters, or to their home, or the home of a friend or family member willing to take them in.”
The van, on the road since 2017, provides an average of 33 rides a day according to the program’s coordinator at the Yellowknife Women’s Society, Rachel Labreche. From the time the van entered service in July 2017 to September 30 this year, a total of 26,000 rides have been provided, she said.
However, when it breaks down, there is currently no Plan B.
“There’s definitely hope to have an alternate – it’s definitely needed – but at this time we don’t have one,” Labreche said. The Yellowknife Women’s Society is hoping a benefactor may choose to donate a vehicle, provided it is safe for drivers and riders.
The street outreach phone line remained staffed (the number is 867-445-7202), Labreche said. Anyone who encounters someone “extremely intoxicated” while the van is not operational should call the RCMP or the ambulance to get them medical help, she added.
Yellowknife RCMP’s emergency line is 867-669-1111. The fire and ambulance emergency line is 867-873-2222.