As the race to find a temporary day shelter for Yellowknife continues, the territorial government confirmed a new, permanent shelter is scheduled to be built by 2023.
So far, planning for the permanent shelter is at an early stage. For example, no location is confirmed. But the territory lists the project among seven planned facilities in the Department of Health and Social Services’ section of the NWT’s latest capital budget.
When built, the new shelter is expected to serve up to 50 people each day and accommodate around 30 people in an overnight sobering centre.
In a statement by email, a spokesperson for the territorial government suggested the new facility would replace, rather than augment, the existing shelter on 50 Street.
The new shelter will be “a permanent home for functions currently met by the sobering centre and day shelter,” spokesperson Damien Healy wrote.
The facility will also offer cultural programming, outreach, and “the option for on-site primary care delivery,” Healy said.
Initial details were shared by health minister Julie Green last week when questioned in the legislature by Yellowknife North MLA Rylund Johnson.
Covid-19 is said to have already slightly delayed the project by disrupting plans to consult local groups on the building’s design and potential programming.
The process of building a new facility is unrelated to the current search for a temporary shelter space for the end of 2020 and opening months of 2021.
Councillors will vote next week on the prospect of turning a disused warehouse opposite a high school into a temporary shelter, with capacity at the downtown shelter reduced by the pandemic.