Pond Inlet will have a new $2.6-million shelter for women and girls this fall, as the hamlet works to finish its renovation of a vacant 4,400-square-foot building.
The shelter is much-needed, as some women and girls in the community live in homes with abusive people or have to leave with nowhere to go, said Tapisa Pitseolak, a Pond Inlet resident and Tununiq Sauniq Co-op employee.
“A shelter would be really good,” she said in an interview. “I’m sure there will be quite a few women applying right away.”
The building, formerly owned by the Co-op, hasn’t been used in years, said the hamlet’s senior administrative officer Dave Stockley.
“It was a mess, we stripped the whole thing,” he said. “Foundation was good, structure was good — if you got that, you can do anything.”
Each bedroom in the facility has a bathroom, double bed, bunk bed and crib. (Photo by David Venn)
The shelter will house women and their young children, as well as girls who have left dangerous situations at home, for up to six weeks, he said. Food will be provided during their stay.
They will be referred to the hamlet-run shelter by the Government of Nunavut’s Justice Department, RCMP, the community’s health centre and social services, Stockley said.
There will be five bedroom units, each with its own bathroom, bunk bed, double bed and crib. One of the bedrooms that will be wheelchair-accessible has a larger bathroom and shower area.
The communal kitchen will have appliances including stove, fridge and freezer, and a dining room with TVs.
There’s also a playroom for the children located behind the dining room, Stockley said, and an office that will occasionally be used for counselling.
“It’s going to be a really nice setup,” he said.
Tununiq MLA Karen Nutarak said the shelter is the first of its kind in Pond Inlet and will help bridge the gap in health services for women and girls.
“[The hamlet has] been pretty active in reaching the community needs,” she said. “This will help the community a lot.”
Pitseolak said the space the shelter will offer is especially important because it can take years for residents to get their own housing.
For Nutarak, the next step is to address that by having more housing units allocated to women and girls.
Three five-plexes were just built and are controlled by Nunavut Housing Co. Stockley said construction has begun on three more, though he is unsure what the corporation’s plans are for the finished units.
When finished, the kitchen at the shelter will have a commercial grade oven, fridge and freezer. (Photo by David Venn)
The hamlet began construction on the shelter in September 2021, after receiving funding from the territorial government.
A project like this would normally take about eight months to complete, Stockley said, but some suppliers have sent up orders with missing materials. He called that “our biggest problem.”
Currently, contractors are waiting on kitchen cabinets to arrive so they can install them and the flooring. The shelter is expected to be completed around October, Stockley said.
David Venn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Nunatsiaq News