Iqaluit’s only damp shelter set to reopen tonight
Originally a pilot project, the shelter closed last July
Iqaluit’s damp shelter is set to reopen its doors tonight, after being closed since July 2019.
The Uquutaq Society, which operates the shelter, announced the shelter’s opening in a news release on Friday, Jan. 24.
The shelter is considered a low-barrier shelter, meaning it is a harm reduction program that gives homeless people who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs a safe place to stay.
The shelter first opened as a pilot project in Jan. 2019 through Nunavut’s Department of Family Services.
In Dec. 2019, the Uquutaq Society signed a contribution agreement with the Nunavut Department of Family Services to operate a low-barrier “damp” shelter in Iqaluit beginning in mid-January.
A “damp” shelter allows entry to intoxicated people, but does not allow residents to drink on the premises.
Like the pilot project, the shelter will be housed in building 534 on Apex Road. The shelter operates seven days a week, from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m.
Iqaluit’s damp shelter is the only dedicated shelter in the city where intoxicated people can stay. The men’s and women’s shelters in Iqaluit do not allow entry to intoxicated people.
In its announcement, the Uquutaq Society noted there are two differences between the new shelter and the original pilot project.
The first difference is that clients will not be allowed to claim a cot at opening and then leave the shelter for more than an hour. After an hour, that cot will be reassigned to the next client, Uquutaq said.
The second difference is the shelter’s capacity, which is 17 people. Because of fire safety, Uquutaq will not be accepting more than 17 people. During the pilot project, the shelter was averaging 24 people a night.
In is announcement, Uquutaq thanked the Department of Family Services for funding the program.
The shelter will open at 8 p.m.