Joint Sobering Centre and Day Centre Opens in Yellowknife

YELLOWKNIFE (September 25, 2018) – The Minister of Health and Social Services, Glen Abernethy, and the Minister Responsible for Addressing Homelessness, Alfred Moses, together with the Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Authority(NTHSSA), the NWT Disability Council and Advanced Medical Solutions, officially opened the doors to a new joint sobering centre and day centre program in Yellowknife.

The new combined facility will offer safe shelter and services to those in need who are facing homelessness and addictions.  It will offer more access to basic services for clients, such as bathrooms, showers and laundry. It will also have more staff and more services that allow clients to connect with other health and social services programs, supporting clients who want to take steps to improve their health, wellness and outcomes.

Specifically the new joint sobering centre and day centre facility will offer:

  • two additional staff on site,
  • additional programming such as group therapy (healing, anger management, healthy relationships, arts/crafts, etc) will be added and delivered in coordination with partners where possible, and;
  • the addition of a new Integrated Case Manager position that will provide community outreach to clients in need and link them with programs and resources.

The new offerings at the combined facility will help provide clients with assistance in goal setting as well as offer support through a harm-reduction approach. A combined location with flexible spaces also offers opportunities to leverage partnerships with the City of Yellowknife’s Street Outreach program, the RCMP, the Arctic Indigenous Wellness Foundation and others.  These partners have been working hard to implement new programs and approaches that are relevant to the people accessing the sobering centre and day centre in a familiar and trusting environment.

Over the past year the Government of the Northwest Territories has been working with community partners to make two temporary sobering centre locations available to clients. Along with the NWT Disabilities Council and Advanced Medical Solutions, the City of Yellowknife and the Salvation Army both made space available for temporary sobering centre locations. The continued support and community approach to addressing the complex and intertwined issues of homelessness and addictions made it possible for more than 7,000 visits to a sobering centre location during this time.


“The opening of the combined sobering centre and day shelter facility shows how our government can work with community partners to meet the needs of those in our community who are struggling with challenges like homelessness and addictions. With continuing community support and new partnerships we can offer clients a warm and safe place to go when they are intoxicated and a centralized location to access wrap-around services as well as a pathway to recovery.”
– Glen Abernethy, Minister of Health and Social Services

“People who are vulnerable to homelessness need and deserve our support.  Successfully addressing homelessness requires partnerships and a whole of government approach. This new, permanent sobering centre and day use facility in Yellowknife is a fine example of the innovative initiatives, social supports and delivery partnerships that are key to improving our services across the NWT and helping more people.”
– Alfred Moses, Minister Responsible for Addressing Homelessness

“The opening of this centre marks a major milestone and great opportunity for future collaboration to continue work to support those who access this service.  I want to thank all of our partners and the community of Yellowknife for their continued support. Providing options, through partnerships, for those facing homelessness and addictions is the right approach to a community issue that requires a community solution.”
-Jim Antoine, Chair of the Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Territorial Leadership Council

Quick Facts

  • In the first year of operation the sobering centre had 7,000 unique intakes.
  • In total 506 people have accessed the sobering centre services, this number repsents a population that is larger than half of the communities in the Northwest Territories.
  • In May, June and July of 2018 the sobering centre had over 2,000 stays.
  • RCMP, Stanton Emergency Room, and City of Yellowknife ambulance services all report reduced use of their services and resources related to drugs/alcohol.

Related Links

For media inquiries contact:

Charlotte Digness
Media and Communications Coordinator
Cabinet Communications and Protocol
Government of the Northwest Territories
Ph: 867-767-9140 ext. 11092

Lisa Giovanetto
Communications Coordinator
Corporate and Support Services
Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Authority
Government of the Northwest Territories
P.O. Box 1320, Yellowknife, NT  X1A 2L9
Phone: 867-767-9090, ext. 40030


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