During the bitter cold, the district services board is looking for a permanent location for the shelter in Sioux Lookout. 

"Just with the pandemic, we did have to move the emergency shelter from its existing location into the decommissioned high school, the former Queen Elizabeth District High School. So, that is where the shelter is now, also with a warming stage that is set to open," says Henry Wall, who is the chief administrative officer for the KDSB.

Wall notes they're taking measures to ease the pressure on frontline staff in the community. He said they had usage down to about half the capacity for the shelter by linking clients with supports in the community, only to see the number of visitors rise again as the pandemic continues. 

"The building that it's in has served the community for many, many years. It's time to retire that building and have something that is accessible and support individuals that they have," Wall added.

The CAO noted there are similar issues in Dryden and Kenora. Earlier this month, staff at the Fellowship Centre reported seeing visitation exceed two and three times their capacity, because people were in need. 

For more information:

Services board lobbies for help with substantial housing costs

Housing top of the list for district services board

Food banks face increased needs, less revenues

Sioux Lookout Out of the Cold (Facebook group)