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Yellowknife’s day shelter will soon be open 12 hours a day

The territory’s health minister says Yellowknife’s day shelter will soon be open 12 hours a day.

Currently, the Safe Harbour Day Shelter on 49 Street is operated by the NWT Disabilities Council up to eight hours every day.

Changing the hours at the shelter was one of the recommendations that came out of a homelessness plan presented at city hall last month.

Glen Abernethy, the territory's health minister.
Glen Abernethy, the territory’s health minister.

Glen Abernethy says he expects the extended hours to kick in by next month.

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“We’ve already given the direction to make it happen,” he told Moose FM. “We’re modifying our contract [with our provider] right now to allow for those additional hours.

“Hopefully this month we should be able to get it all put away. Hopefully by December the provider will be able to have staff in place to move forward with the extended hours.”

In this case, the provider is the NWT Disabilities Council, which is contracted by the territory’s health department to operate the shelter.

Abernethy expects the organization will have to bring on additional staff to provide ‘appropriate coverage’ during the extended hours.

Funding for the expanded hours will come from the department’s existing budget, though Abernethy couldn’t provide an exact price tag.

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“We have some rough ideas [but] we don’t have a defined amount at this point,” he said. “Once I have more clarity I’m certainly happy to share that.”

Other media reports have suggested the expanded hours could come at a cost of almost $300,000 per year.

This news comes as the territorial government renews its contract with the NWT Disabilities Council to run the shelter.

Abernethy says there are no plans to move the day shelter from its current location.

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