For Those Experiencing Homelessness

Last modified: 
12/18/2020 - 10:14

It’s our priority to protect the health and safety of all NWT residents.

To address the importance of providing those experiencing homelessness with safe spaces where they can self-isolate and practice physical distancing, a response plan is in motion. 

On this page

Shelter Network

A network of shelters are key to the response: 

  • Aspen Apartments (Yellowknife)
    • A voluntary program that provides temporary self-isolation space for homeless individuals awaiting test results or who are sick. Aspen is not emergency housing for over housed/crowded living conditions, or people who have rooms in shelters that are equipped for self-isolation. 
  • Isolation Shelter (Previously the Yellowknife Sobering Centre/ Day Shelter - Yellowknife) 
    • A voluntary program providing a space for isolation of a core group of 30 high-risk individuals in the homeless community. 
  • Arnica Inn (Yellowknife)
    • A voluntary program providing safe isolation space and support for roughly 25 people experiencing homelessness at high risk for complications of COVID-19.  This includes individuals over age 70, those with underlying health conditions or comorbidities.  
  • Temporary Day Shelter – Mine Safety/ Sidedoor (Yellowknife)
    • A temporary day shelter providing a safe space for the homeless community and filling the needs once presented by the sobering centre. Food, recreation, and socializing at a safe distance are provided. The hours of operation are 7:30am – 6:30pm.
  • Inuvik Warming Centre
    • An additional shelter space has been secured to assist the Inuvik Warming Shelter to enable physical distancing and support isolation for those experiencing homelessness waiting for test results, or who have tested positive for COVID-19.

Is it mandatory for users to remain in the self-isolation shelters?

No, it is not mandatory for users to remain in the self-isolation shelters. 

How is the health of shelter users monitored?

The Nurse Outreach Team, comprised of NWT registered nurses, have been designated to provide frontline health assistance to the shelters. The team makes daily medical in-person checks on each shelter’s users. Other than daily COVID-19 related checks from the team, there is no medical oversight where medication is distributed or stored. All individuals must be medically cleared to live at Aspen.  

Users in Aspen Apartments, as well as Arnica Inn are provided their own bedrooms with furniture, including a television and a phone. The Nurse Outreach team has each room’s phone number to get in touch if necessary. 

How are people referred to Aspen?

All users of Aspen are either awaiting test results, or exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19. Aspen intakes are through the COVID-19 Clinic or Stanton. A referral form is then sent to Aspen staff, and an intake form is filled out. Transportation is then provided for the individual from the COVID-19 Clinic or Stanton to Aspen. 

How will people be referred to Arnica Inn?

People will self-identify and applications will be triaged by a physician. These individuals are users of the current shelter system in Yellowknife, and moving to Arnica will help promote safety of high risk individuals while also mitigating the issue of overcrowding in shelters. 

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