(PUBLISHER’S NOTE: All the MLA candidates were asked to comment on the best way forward for the sobering centre in Yellowknife. Go here to see the full question and context.)
Good question. I just did a little research of GNWT contracts.
It appears that there were two bids on the operation of the day shelter, and the contract was awarded to NWT Disabilities Council. The contract was re-tendered in June. The competition closed in mid-July and no award has been announced yet.
The fact is that there hasn’t been a great deal of interest in offering this service. The work involves a client group that has multiple and intense needs, neighbours who oppose the location and a constant string of complaints from all involved.
Another fact is that many of the organizations you named don’t have the capacity to offer this service – or aren’t interested in increasing capacity for the reasons given above. Is it appropriate for Indigenous NGOs to provide services to the downtown population? Of course. Is it going to happen? Unknown at this point.
It will be up to the successful bidder to hire Indigenous staff to provide services, as the current contractor has done, and for other groups to step up according to their capacity (for example the Arctic Indigenous Wellness Foundation is picking people up downtown at 7 am to take them to the camp for the day, if they choose). If there were easy solutions, we would have heard of them by now.
Have you got a centre for people with bi-polar disease? It seems to me that the doctors prescribe medications and do not ensure any follow-up with health care persons. Am I wrong?