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Health
Yellowknife

Yellowknife’s 50 Street day shelter closes, sobering centre remains


Yellowknife’s 50 Street day shelter has closed, three and a half years after it opened, with services transferred to another facility near the NWT legislature building.

The shelter closed at noon on Thursday. The NWT Disabilities Council had declined to keep running the facility while the territory’s health authority spent an extra six months deciding on its future operator.

People needing day shelter services can find food, showers, and laundry services at 4807 49 Street, home to a new shelter recently erected by the health authority.

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The overnight sobering centre housed in one half of the 50 Street building will remain available. From Friday, April 1, its hours will be 4pm till 8am.

Day shelters offer somewhere warm for people without homes to spend time during the day. The sobering centre gives people somewhere safe to sleep off the effects of alcohol and drugs.

The health authority previously said it intends to remain in charge of the 50 Street sobering centre “for six months while a request for proposal process is undertaken to find an operator.”

Opened in September 2018, the downtown day shelter was praised in a 2019 evaluation for offering a place where people felt respected and safe, and where staff provided “a needed service that clients cannot access otherwise.”

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However, that same year, neighbours of the building began documenting violent incidents on 50 Street. One building owner described a “perpetual increase in violence” since the facility opened.

Cabin Radio last year reported allegations of mismanagement at the centre based on the evidence of six people who had worked there. The territorial government pledged to investigate but later admitted it had not done so, and instead asked police to investigate the whistleblowers.

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