The temporary day shelter at the Side Door building is open as of Monday.
The building, formerly the Mine Safety building and the home for the Side Door youth group, was acquired by the GNWT for the new temporary day shelter on Friday, after the territory declared a public emergency in Yellowknife.
The shelter will have an initial capacity of 15 people, while “kinks” are being worked out, according to a post health minister Julie Green shared to Twitter Monday morning.
The shelter opened at 7 am today with a provisional capacity of 15 people and going up to 25 when any kinks are worked out. Thank you HSS staff for your tireless work to make this happen #Yellowknife #NWT https://t.co/O9hwuh8YTv
— Julie Green (@juliegreenMLA) November 9, 2020
These kinks, according to health department spokesperson Damien Healy, involve “sorting out how the building will flow with staff and clients while respecting CPHO orders. This can only be worked out once clients are in the building.”
After these kinks are worked out, the capacity will increase to 25 people, according to Green’s tweet.
In a press release when the location of the temporary day shelter was announced, the GNWT said 40 people had been displaced by reducing the capacity at the existing sobering centre, run by the territory’s disabilities council.
The Side Door location for was acquired by the territorial government to meet an “urgent need” for shelter capacity, according to Paulie Chinna, Minister Responsible for Homelessness.
The GNWT declared a public emergency in Yellowknife only, and acquired the Side Door location to house the temporary day shelter, which had been previously rejected by city councillors, due to fears on how it would impact nearby businesses, like Overlander Sports.
But in a press conference Friday when the decision was announced, Yellowknife Mayor Rebecca Alty said the GNWT had “mitigated concerns” that had been raised. Security measures like a having guard posted outside, a fence between the Side Door building and the overlanded parking lot and staff patrols will be implemented at the location.