After spending two years talking to key players, including people on the streets, Elders, Chiefs and Councils, service providers, and the general public, the Sioux Lookout Committee will join efforts with Sioux Lookout's Out of the Cold Committee to open the doors of a new homeless shelter and drop-in centre.
"Drop-in Centres are reported by homeless shelters in larger urban areas," says Deb Sider, the project's Principal Researcher, "as key points of entry, or links to more specific support services. Services may include housing support, mental health, life skills, or addictions, for example." This is the model, this type of transition program, the Sioux Lookout Homelessness Committee proposes to coordinate within the new building.
On November 1, the Sioux Lookout Homelessness Committee and the Out of the Cold Program will open its doors at 25 Fair Street in Sioux Lookout. "It's an ideal building," says committee member Susan Barclay. "We had envisioned something very similar, even sketched it out on paper, before being presented with the opportunity to purchase the building on Fair Street." The building will function as the Out of the Cold Shelter at night and house the drop-in centre throughout the day, complete with a food bank and soup kitchen. What made the building perfect, according to Barclay, is the availability of transitional rooms for rent on the second floor and office space for rent in the basement. Transition rooms are available anytime after October 17 at a rate of $25.00 per night or at a flexible monthly rate, based on income or shelter allowance. Rooms are available to anyone in need. Revenues will help make the programs sustainable.
"Yet, volunteer support will continue to be a vital component of the project's success," adds Barclay. Rental revenues and grant dollars will not cover the entire cost of the programs.
The Sioux Lookout Homelessness Committee wants to take this opportunity to suggest there are many ways to support the initiative. Anyone who does not have spare time to volunteer at the shelter may want to consider organizing a fundraising event within the workplace, or consider asking for non-perishable food items at your next community event and make a donation to the food bank.
The committee also proposes a new name for itself and the building on Fair Street. Since project implementation, for the lack of a better word, the committee has used the term 'homeless' to refer to the project and the committee. The term is inappropriate because most people who end up on the streets of Sioux Lookout do have homes in other communities. Wii-chi way - E sha da win, which means helping "home" in Oji-cree was recently proposed. The committee is pleased with the name because it encompasses the concept of safety, security, warmth, food, support, and sleep that it wishes to convey. If you have comments or suggestions, or would like more information about the project you may call 807-737-7499 or 1-866-331-3389.
Industry Canada's First Nations SchoolNet program teams from across Canada are meeting today and tomorrow near Sydney, Nova Scotia. The meeting is being streamed and archived for everyone to watch and learn about the plans and tools that are being developed and implemented across the country.
Click here to watch the archived version of the Saturday portion of the meeting. (requires Windows Media, 426MB, 3.5 hours)
Darlene Rae, North Spirit Lake's e-Centre Manager, along with Jesse Fiddler, K-Net Multi-media Coordinator and Dan Pellerin, K-Net's Network Manager travelled over to Nova Scotia to attend this meeting. Others participants from across the country joined the meeting via video conferencing.