NTHSSA to take over Yellowknife sobering centre, move day shelter

The day shelter and sobering centre on 50th Street. (Mariah Caruso/CKLB)

Starting next month, the NWT Disabilities Council (NWTDC) will no longer be operating the Yellowknife Day Shelter and Sobering Centre.

The Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Authority (NTHSSA) will be taking over the space starting Apr. 1.

The NTHSSA intends to keep the sobering centre are its current location, but day shelter services will move to the former Yellowknife Visitors Centre are on 48th Street.

The changes will last six months as NTHSSA puts out a request for proposal to find a new operator.

“This change comes after the NTHSSA was recently made aware that the NWTDC did not wish to extend their current operating contract for 6 months while the RFP process was undertaken,” reads a news release.

The change also comes after Cabin Radio reported on alleged unsafe working conditions at the day shelter and sobering centre.

Following several media requests, the NWTDC sent a news release on Mar. 3, explaining its position.

It said the council attempted to reach out to NTHSSA to discuss extending the agreement to run the day shelter and sobering centre. According to the NWTDC, the agreement allowed for an extension of two years.

“In mid -January 2022, the NTHSSA advised that (it) had learned many lessons regarding the Day Shelter and Sobering Centre over the past number of years and they would like to discuss extending the Contribution Agreement for a further six months with the NTHSSA posting, in the early spring, a new R.F.P. for two years for the operation of the Day Shelter and Sobering Centre,” reads the release.

Ultimately, NWTDC’s board of directors decided against a six-month extension after considering “legal responsibilities” and “logistics of securing services.”

“Some of the factors that required consideration were time sensitive,” it says.

“That decision was a difficult one as the ending of the Contribution Agreement also meant the ending of employment for those who performed their duties with empathy, dedication and professionalism.”

Updated March 3 with response from the NWTDC.

About the Author

Francis Tessier-Burns
Francis has been a general news reporter with CKLB since January 2019. Originally from rural Ontario, he first came to the NWT in 2016 as an intern with Up Here magazine and fell in love with the North. In his time with CKLB, he's had the immense pleasure and honour of learning about northern Indigenous cultures. Otherwise, you can find him hanging around the Legislative Assembly. If you have a story or want to chat, reach out to francis@cklbradio.com