Paulie Chinna: Shelters

Déclarations et discours de ministres

Yellowknife — 2 décembre 2021

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Mr. Speaker, winter has arrived, temperatures are dropping and will continue to for the next couple of months. Dropping temperatures brings great concerns for under-housed residents, without warm place to live, without comforts that many of us enjoy day to day. 

Our partners who provide sheltering services have been planning for months. I am proud to rise today to speak about the valuable and critical work that non-governmental organizations and shelter workers do to try to keep those without a home safe and healthy.

In Inuvik, working under the overall direction of many partners including the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, the Gwich’in Tribal Council, the Town of Inuvik and people with lived experience, two shelters are providing much needed support for persons experiencing homelessness:  The Inuvik Emergency Warming Shelter, which is open to anyone requiring a place to sleep and a meal; and the Inuvik Homeless Shelter, which supports persons that may be more stable and independent, but do not have a place to call home.

With the recent fire at the Inuvik Emergency Warming Shelter, we know that services to our under-housed population is more critical than ever.  We are actively working with our partners and various levels of government to ensure that these displaced supports can continue and I am committed to keeping this House updated as we navigate the path forward.

In Hay River, the Hay River Committee for Persons with Disabilities, operates an emergency shelter providing meals and a safe place to stay. 

In Fort Simpson, the Village of Fort Simpson coordinates the operation of shelter with the advice of community parties including the Liidlii Kue First Nation.

Yellowknife has long been a catchment area for people without a place to live.  
The Salvation Army provides shelter to men, the Yellowknife Women’s Society shelters women as well as offers semi-independent rooms and runs a Housing First program, and the YWCA provides emergency rental housing for homeless families.  The Northwest Territories Housing Corporation provides operational funding to all these programs.

As well, our partners delivering the NWT Housing Corporation Northern Pathways to Housing program provide important opportunities for housing stability in Behchokǫ̀
Fort Simpson, Aklavik, and Fort Good Hope.  Our partners include the Behchokǫ̀ Friendship Society, the Liidlii Kue First Nation, the Aklavik Indian Band and the K’asho Got’ıne Housing Society.  The Northern Pathways Program is recognized by the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness as a best practice and innovative model for addressing homelessness in rural and remote, northern Indigenous communities.

Mr. Speaker, the NWT Housing Corporation will continue to support all these operations by providing policy and procedural guidance where appropriate, supporting training opportunities for front-line staff, developing physical standards for facilities and providing operational funding.

Winter is a dangerous time for people without a roof over their heads.  I want to commend and thank all of our partners for stepping up when they are needed most.  These are not simple jobs caring for the least fortunate among us.  Often program participants may come with a number of complex issues including mental health, addictions and physical health.  Our partners and front-line workers provide support focusing on people’s strengths not their weaknesses.  I could not be more proud of the work that they do keeping our residents safe and secure.

Mahsi, Mr. Speaker