Whitehorse Emergency Shelter
Listening and Learning Together
Connective has operated the Housing First Residence alongside the Council of Yukon First Nations in Whitehorse (CYFN) since April 2021 and will begin their operations of the neighbouring Whitehorse Emergency Shelter on October 1, 2022. 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 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.
COMMUNITY INFORMATION SESSIONS
Join Connective and CYFN at one of two virtual sessions as we share information about who we are, address initial questions, and understand how we can build a long-term relationship with the community, based on open and respectful dialogue.
Each session will include:
- A presentation on the services and community support provided by Connective and CYFN,
- An opportunity to learn more about shelter operations,
- An opportunity to ask questions
- An opportunity to share your feedback on how Connective can build a strong relationship with the community and share information openly.
We invite you to participate to learn more, ask questions and share your feedback.
- October 25 from 6:30 – 8 pm MST
- October 26 from 4 – 5:30 pm MST
Please register here. Spaces are limited.
Please note: each session will include the same information and you are encouraged to register for only one session. The presentation slides will be posted to the website after each session as well as the questions posed.
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.
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
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