Whitehorse Emergency Shelter

On October 1, 2022, operation of the Whitehorse Emergency Shelter was transferred to Connective, with the support of our partners at the Council of Yukon First Nations. Located at 405 Alexander Street, the shelter provides temporary emergency housing to community members in need of a bed, hot meal, shower, laundry, or access to the range of support services offered on site or in the community. While most stays in the shelter are short term, a limited number of permanent housing units are also available on a separate floor of the site.

This transfer of operations from the Government of Yukon builds on the growing partnership with Connective and the 
Council of Yukon First Nations, who will continue to ensure that Yukoners who are experiencing homelessness are able to take shelter, receive person-centered and culturally appropriate care, and come in off the street.

Our Approach

Our approach is person-centered, holistic, and community based, and we work collaboratively with all community members to facilitate safe, healthy, and inclusive communities for all. We strive to be responsible and respectful neighbours, and will continue to support our facilities and their communities to understand, address, and seek to resolve concerns directly related to the shelter

By taking a housing-first approach in all our programs, we have seen just how important safe housing is to long-term success. We look forward to both applying our expertise to operations as well as listening, learning, and connecting with the community and our partners at the CYFN.

Safe and Healthy Communities

Ensuring the safety of our staff, residents, service users, and the surrounding community is paramount to us. Safety includes both personal safety and safety of property. Connective will work with neighbours to have open communications and collaboratively identify and address concerns directly related to the shelter. It is our approach to maintain relationships and work closely with local community service providers and law enforcement to help ensure safe, healthy, and inclusive spaces for our clients and the broader community.


On October 25 and 26, Connective hosted two virtual community information sessions to share information about who we are and what we do, answer questions, and to begin building a long-term relationship with the community, based on open and respectful dialogue.   

We have created a summary document that lists the questions we received from participants at both information sessions, our response to each question, as well as some additional context to provide a clear understanding of our approach – both at the shelter, and as an organization. Click here to read the full summary of questions asked and responses provided.

Dates Registered Attendees Actual Participants
October 25, 6:30 – 8:00 PM
October 26, 4:00 – 5:30 PM

Additional comments that were shared

“I appreciate this session. Found out via the Downtown Residents Association. I encourage Connective to connect into that Facebook group. An ongoing conversation will likely repeat what we’ve heard today. Thanks.”

 “Comment about the vulnerability of residents to drug use – it’s a bigger problem and need many different people/organizations to address.”

“This was a much-needed session for the community.  Thank you.”

Ways to stay connected

We are here to serve the community and those in need of supports. We are committed to sharing information and working together so that we can have a safe and welcoming community where everyone feels like they belong.

For information, please visit our website at connective.ca or contact our staff at the shelter anytime, using the information below.
Email: wes@connective.ca
Phone: 867-455-2820

Report to the Community

For regular updates about the shelter, please subscribe to our Report to the Community, which is distributed quarterly. You can also view all editions of the report below.

Report to the Community – Winter 2022


Thank you for visiting our FAQs. Please note we will update these FAQs as more questions are asked. Please check back regularly for updated FAQs.

Project Information

Connective is a non-profit organization that provides housing and transitional support and services to all residents of British Columbia and the Yukon. We were formerly known as the John Howard Society and have over 90 years of experience working with a variety of clients who require housing, health and social supports.


We do this by providing a continuum of person-centered programs and services to people who may have experience in the justice system and those experiencing homelessness, problematic substance use, mental health challenges, or other complex needs.

Connective, in partnership with the Council of Yukon First Nations (CYFN), will independently assume management and operations of the Whitehorse Emergency Shelter on October 1, 2022.


Connective will be responsible for property and operations management, including 24/7 on-site staff. CYFN will support in in the provision of culturally appropriate programming and Indigenous Cultural Care. Together with other community partners, Connective and CYFN will deliver programming, support, and health services to residents and service users.

The Yukon government always intended to transition their management of the Whitehorse Emergency Shelter to a non-governmental organization. They implemented an exhaustive search for non-governmental partners to manage the operations and awarded this role to Connective, effective October 1, 2022.

Connective has a long history in BC and extensive background in service provision. Partnering with CFYN in the Yukon has allowed us to enhance our learnings as a service provider in the territory and will bring our more than 90 years of experience relevant to the Shelter operations.


With our history of service delivery for people with complex needs and CYFN’s long history of working for the advancement and betterment of Yukon First Nations, we feel this partnership will deliver effective, sustainable, person-centered, and community-informed services to the community of Whitehorse. Connective currently operates more than 600 housing units in the Yukon and British Columbia.

Community Engagement and Impacts

Emergency shelters are temporary places to stay for anyone who is experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness.


A typical stay at an emergency shelter includes a bed with linens, hot meals, showers, laundry and support services. It may range from one night to longer stays depending on the needs of service users.


In addition to the shelter beds, there are also permanent housing first units at the Whitehorse Emergency shelter which provide support for some individuals on a longer term basis.

People who stay at emergency shelters are diverse, with a range of needs and abilities. Some service users have experienced homelessness for a long time and others a struggling with securing stable housing. Anyone who needs housing is welcome at the shelter. The only requirement is that those accessing the shelter agree to safe and respectful behaviour, for staff and with other clients. Each service user is unique and the programs and supports are unique to each individual, but may include: cultural programming and supports, meals and food security resources, health and wellness support, and harm reduction supplies. Shelters are open to men, women and people who identify in the LGBTQ2S (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, two-spirited) spectrum who are aged 19 years and older.

There will be no changes for individuals who are now accessing the shelter. The Whitehorse Emergency Shelter will continue to operate with a housing first, harm reduction, trauma-informed lens and culturally appropriate approach.

We want to listen and learn from the community so that we can collaboratively work together to identify and address concerns. Our staff will spend the first month working closely with residents and service users, meeting the neighbours, and listening so we can better

understand current and future areas of focus. Following this, we will host a series of virtual information sessions so that we can listen and learn from the community to understand how we can work together to address key issues and concerns.

We are committed to supporting and maintaining a safe, welcoming and inclusive community. Where there are direct issues or challenges, we will work collaboratively to ensure that issues are addressed. We will work with law enforcement and identify ways we can ensure the shelter and immediate environment are clean and welcoming.


We want to be good neighbour and we want to support our service users. As such, we want to be part of meaningful community partnerships, while also recognizing that our clients are often not the ones involved in criminal activities, including vandalism.


We all want safe neighbourhoods. If we see vandalism or witness crime in our neighbourhood, we will work with the RCMP to address these issues.

Our approach is low barrier, which includes a harm reduction approach. This means that we meet people where they are and help them manage risks associated with substance use. We believe by being open, non-judgmental and taking a housing-first and health approach we can best support people in reducing the barriers they experience in their day-to-day life.


Many people who access the shelter experience multiple barriers, including concurrent disorders (co-occurring mental health issues and lived experience with substance use). Concurrent disorders are a significant health issue, and result in people facing multiple challenges and barriers to accessing basic human needs, treatment, and care.


Connective’s expertise is with wrap-around, person-centered, and holistic approaches that work to address some of the behaviours that arise along with compassion and understanding for people living with these challenges.

We look forward to relationship building and sharing both our expertise and learning from community. We hope to see you at our community information sessions in October.


At these sessions Connective and CYFN will share information about who we are, address initial questions and understand how we can build a long-term relationship with our community, based on open and respectful dialogue.


Visit our website to register for one of the sessions below and to share your feedback:

  • October 25 from 6:30 – 8 pm MST
  • October 26 from 4 – 5:30 pm MST

Connective, Whitehorse Emergency Shelter – Community Information Session Virtual Presentation

A virtual presentation sharing information about Connective, their collaborative approach to the communities they serve, and background on their operation of the Whitehorse Emergency Shelter.

Community Info Session Q&A

Who to Call

Information about WES contacts, community resources, and emergency services in Whitehorse.


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