NWHU Health Unit/KDSB partnership offers certainty for Kenora shelter

Year 1 No. 27 — Friday, October 7, 2016

The new Emergency Shelter in Kenora has been announced after months of uncertainty. The Kenora District Services Board has partnered with the Northwestern Health Unit to provide the shelter.

The temporary relocation will ensure that the NeChee Friendship Centre can operate in the basement of the Northwestern Health Unit.

The Shelter at the Kenora Fellowship Centre closed its doors July 1 and a temporary shelter was set up at Knox First United Church in the gymnasium. “The uncertainty of the Emergency Shelter has been very difficult for the community of Kenora,” said Henry Wall, the Chief Administrative Officer of KDSB.

Nearly 600 individuals rely on the Emergency Shelter over the course of the year. The new partnership will allow for the Shelter to be held at the Health Unit for the next two years. This will allow time to determine a long-term action plan and decide on the best possible solution for a permanent location.

“We want to make sure that we get this right and that we have enough time to develop a solution to end homelessness that will make sense for the community and that is sustainable long term,” said Barry Baltessen, KDSB Board Chair.

The issue of the Emergency Shelter has weighed heavily on the minds of those in Kenora all summer. At the end of August the NeChee Friendship Centre organized a fundraising concert at the Harbourfront to help procure funds for the shelter. The concert featured Manitoba band Prairie Joe and all proceeds went toward items needed for the shelter.

Dave Canfield, the Mayor of Kenora, declared a state of emergency this summer over the closure of the previous shelter. With winter approaching it was important to all parties that they find a solution to help solve homelessness in the community.