The Iqaluit Day Warming Centre, a pilot project in the Canadian Arctic city of Iqaluit, should become a permanent facility, according to the society that ran the program during its six-month trial period.
The Iqaluit Day Warming Centre opened in October 2018 and remained operational until the end of April 2019. The program was designed to provide a warm and safe place for the city’s homeless and vulnerable population to take refuge during the long and cold Arctic winter.
During its six-month trial period, the Iqaluit Day Warming Centre provided a safe and warm space for an average of 21 people per day. The centre offered a variety of services, including hot meals, medical care, clothing and personal items, and assistance with housing and employment.
The program was run by the Iqaluit-based society, Nunavut Sivuniksavut (NS), which provides educational opportunities to Inuit youth. The organization’s executive director, Maatalii Okalik, says the centre was a great success and should become a permanent fixture in the community.
“The Day Warming Centre has been a safe and warm haven for many people for six months,” said Okalik. “We want to make sure that this service is available to the community on a regular basis, as it is a great help and a much-needed resource.”
Okalik says the centre was essential in helping the homeless and vulnerable population in Iqaluit stay warm and safe during the winter months.
“This is a population that has very few resources and very limited access to services,” Okalik said. “The Day Warming Centre has been a great asset to the community and we would like to ensure that it continues to be available to those in need.”
Okalik says the goal of the program is to provide a safe and warm place for those in need, as well as to provide access to resources that can help them get back on their feet.
“We want to make sure that the centre is available to those who are most vulnerable and in need of assistance,” Okalik said. “We believe that this centre should be a permanent facility in the city and we are looking for ways to make that happen.”
In the meantime, NS will continue to operate the centre on a temporary basis as they search for ways to make it a permanent fixture in the city. Okalik hopes that the Iqaluit Day Warming Centre will become a permanent part of the community and will help provide much-needed services to those in need.