On December 2nd, the Yellowknife Day Centre will be implementing a policy change that will restrict access to Day Centre services to homeless individuals. This change is intended to focus the services of the Day Centre on those that are homeless and not receiving support from other community-based organizations.

A group of approximately 130 homeless individuals are expected to continue to access the day centre daily. The centre helped 15 homeless individuals return and reintegrate into their home communities. Arthur C. Green/100.1 The Moose

It is important to note that the Sobering Centre, which provides a safe place for individuals to sleep off the effects of intoxication, is not changing. These supports will still be accessible for all members of our community in need.

The Statement was issued by the Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Authority and the NWT Disabilities Council, the operator of the Sobering and Day Centre.

There are 66 individuals who currently access the day centre that will be immediately impacted by the change.

Out of this group of 66 individuals, there are 17 individuals who we know who access the day centre on a regular, almost daily, basis, Yellowknife Day and Sobering Centre services stated.

These individuals are either self-housed or supported by some form of the housing program.

 On September 3, 2019, the Yellowknife RCMP attended the scene of an aggravated assault at the Sobering Centre and Day Centre, in downtown Yellowknife.

The victim of the aggravated assault, Mark Poodlat, a 36-year-old man, passed away in hospital on Thursday, September 5, which contributed to the new charge.

There have also been significant safety concerns raised for our staff and clients as well as the general public, Yellowknife Day and Sobering Centre services added.

There are several factors that have led to the decision to re-focus Day Centre services.  The formal program evaluation, which is intended to guide continued quality improvement of the Day Centre services, recommended the provision of supportive services, case management and cultural programming to assist homeless clients.

By redirecting individuals that are housed back to their own residence and/or service providers, we can create a space that is conducive to the delivery of programming specific to the needs of our clients, Yellowknife Day and Sobering Centre services stated.

There have also been significant safety concerns raised for our staff and clients as well as the general public, Yellowknife Day and Sobering Centre services added.

The Sobering Centre has served over 8,000-bed accesses by 200 unique individuals to date. Arthur C. Green/100.1 The Moose

Efforts to offer more targeted programming to those who are homeless and not attached to other service providers are seen as an important step in managing the operations of the Centre.  The new policy will also assist in implementing the Good Neighbour Agreement to more proactively address the public safety concerns of the neighbours in the vicinity of the Sobering/Day Centre as well as those of the general public.

In implementing this policy, we also understand that we cannot abandon individuals who are not homeless who need support, Yellowknife Day and Sobering Centre services stated.

A group of approximately 130 homeless individuals are expected to continue to access the day centre daily. The centre helped 15 homeless individuals return and reintegrate into their home communities.

Over the past month the NTHSSA, NWT Disabilities Council, and many partners have been working to identify those who will be most impacted by this change. The coalition will work hard to ensure they have the appropriate supports from the appropriate organizations, NGOs and different levels of government who are responsible for providing assistance, the statement read.

When these services were established in a combined centre, just over a year ago, Yellowknife Day and Sobering Centre services stated they committed to ensuring that they monitor and measure outcomes and impact. This will continue, with an enhanced focus over the next six months, as the information Yellowknife Day and Sobering Centre services collects continues to inform changes so they can refine services.

“We will be monitoring the impact of the new admission policy,” Yellowknife Day and Sobering Centre services said.

This will be a collaborative approach with stakeholders such as NGOs, City of Yellowknife, RCMP and GNWT Departments to ensure that service providers and / or stakeholders have an avenue to provide their feedback on the impact and risk to clients.

“We will share these findings with our stakeholders which includes the RCMP, City of Yellowknife, NGO service providers, and GNWT Departments,” Yellowknife Day and Sobering Centre services stated.

The Sobering Centre has served over 8,000-bed accesses by 200 unique individuals to date.

Community advocates and service providers continue to have access to the Day Centre to connect with their clients. Anyone can also leave a message for Centre clients if they are not present in the facility and these will be conveyed to the individual the next time they access services.

The capacity of the Day and Sobering Centre facility is 99 individuals at any given time.

agreen@vistaradio.ca

Twitter.com/artcgreen