The Inuvik Homeless Shelter (IHS) received this quarter’s 100 People Who Care donation of approximately $4,000 October 3.
IHS chair Lucy Kuptana said the shelter will use the funds for replacement bed linens, towels, bathroom and bedroom supplies and possibly some furniture – all needed following the shelter’s bed bug infestation in May.
100 People Who Care is a local organization comprised of approximately 60 members that meet quarterly to raise money for local charities in need.
Prior to each meeting, three charities or non-profit organizations are nominated as potential recipients, and members pool their donations together.
At the meeting, representatives from each nominated group make a five-minute presentation explaining how they would use the donation, and then 100 People Who Care members vote for which charity will receive the pooled donations.
At last week’s meeting, the Inuvik Youth Centre and the Northern and Dene Games Summit were also nominated to receive the donation.
IHS closed since May
The IHS has been closed since May 2018 following a bed bug infestation.
While fumigation efforts were complete in July, renovations to the shelter in order to meet environmental inspection standards are still ongoing.
“We have to pass environmental inspection because it’s a public facility … we need new toilets because those toilets are leaking. We have to tear up those bathtubs and put in shower stalls because we’re a public facility,” said Kuptana. “We need to have more sinks for proper washing and proper disinfecting as well.”
The IHS building is provided by the Town of Inuvik free of charge. The town is also responsible for maintenance of the building.
Mayor Jim McDonald said the town is working with the homeless shelter board to provide new toilets and other maintenance, but the town is limited in what it can do because of financial restrictions.
Kuptana said she is unsure as to when the shelter will be ready to re-open, but they are aiming for a late November date.
IHS clients displaced
For a few weeks following the infestation, clients were relocated to a vacant group home on Reliance Street, but eventually had to vacate the property.
IHS board member Peggy Day said since then, clients have had to find other places to stay, such as couch surfing with relatives or staying at the John Wayne Kiktorak Centre.
Day said one client who works part-time used a paycheque to move to Yellowknife to stay in the shelter there instead of staying on the street.
Two other clients are staying in the shelter manager’s home, while others are staying with friends.
“We just want to get the doors open for our clients,” said Day.
New programs considered for shelter
Kuptana said the IHS board is negotiating a new program with the NWT Housing Corporation called Rapid Rehousing, which would fund a full-time coordinator to work with clients to transition them back into their own housing.
McDonald said the town is looking to find funding to hire a coordinator to work on finding funding for all of the shelters in Inuvik.