Update: This story now reflects the new opening date, which is Aug. 1
A men’s shelter will open in Kugluktuk as of Aug. 1.
The community already had a women’s crisis shelter, but there’s some moving around to be done.
The men’s shelter will take over the existing women’s shelter, which has four bedrooms, while the women’s shelter will relocate to a five-bedroom house that the Hamlet of Kugluktuk acquired last year and has been renovating.
“The community has long asked for this and it’s nice to know that July 1, it will happen,” Coun. Nadene McMenemy said of the creation of a men’s shelter. “We see the need. Often men are left stranded, nowhere to go. When men (are) in crisis and stranded without a place to stay, they now have somewhere to get to safety and not left vulnerable.”
Federal homelessness funding will cover the bulk of the cost for the eight-bed men’s shelter, which will require close to $800,000 annually to run, according to senior administrative officer Ron Ladd. The facility, which is also getting some new aesthetic touches, will employ a supervisor, who’s already been hired, and casual workers who will cover off three eight-hour shifts per day.
Counselling services will be provided too, Ladd noted. Funded primarily through the territorial government’s Poverty Reduction Division, the community programs include drug and alcohol counselling, community justice outreach, mental health awareness, men’s and women’s groups, drum dancing, adult drop-in centre, garden tool-maker program, youth and elders’ program, Healthy Start program and an elders committee.
Ladd said it’s more pragmatic to have an additional bedroom available at the women’s shelter because they more often have children accompanying them.
As with the women’s shelter, Kugluktuk can assist men in need from elsewhere in the Kitikmeot on an emergency basis, but clients from within the community will be the first priority.
“It’s pretty exciting. We’re pretty fortunate,” Ladd said, giving credit to his predecessor SAO Don LeBlanc for laying much of the groundwork on this project. “He was here for 10 years. He was pretty much on the forefront.”