Vale Manitoba Operations has contributed $250,000 to the Thompson community wellness and public safety committee for a new shelter in place program (SHIPP) at the former University College of the North campus building that will eventually house a sobering centre.
Modelled after the first SHIPP launched in April 2020 to provide 25 homeless people with accommodations at the Thompson YWCA in order to help reduce their risk of contracting COVID-19, the new program will help further reduce the number of people housed at the Thompson Homeless Shelter and lay the groundwork for services that will eventually be provided through the Thompson sobering centre.
“We believe safety is everyone’s responsibility and Vale is proud to support the Community Wellness & Safety Advisory Committee (CWSAC),” said Vale Manitoba Operations head Gary Annett. “Vale has recently joined the advisory committee and fully supports the committee’s collaborative approach of working together to achieve the goal of a safer and healthier Thompson.”
Made up of more than 30 community organizations and co-chaired by representatives of the City of Thompson, Thompson RCMP and the Ma-Mow-We-Tak Friendship Centre, the CWSAC launched its wellness and public safety strategy in October, of which the sobering centre is one component.
“Helping houseless people recover in Thompson benefits everyone in the community, and the new SHIPP campus is an important step towards addressing some of our hardest issues,” said CWSAC co-chair Dee Chaboyer of the Ma-Mow-We-Take Friendship Centre. “As one of one Thompson’s most prominent employers, we’re excited that Vale has joined our tram, and thankful for their contribution.”
Last spring, the city took ownership of the three former UCN campus buildings at the corner of Princeton Drive and Station Road, which have been mostly vacant since the post-secondary institution moved to a new location near the Thompson Regional Community Centre. The sobering centre is planned for one of the buildings but it has not yet been decided what purpose the other two buildings will serve. The intent is for the sobering centre to provide services for intoxicated people all day every day and to reduce the number of them who are put into holding cells at the Thompson RCMP detachment.