New home for the homeless

The former Thunder Bay Inn will soon become The Lodge on Dawson, a 30-bed transitional facility where residents can stay for up to a year.

A new 30-bed transitional housing facility set to open this fall in Thunder Bay promises to help fill a gap in the community towards breaking the cycle of homelessness.

“When I heard this initiative was being undertaken I was ecstatic,” said Nicole Latour, executive director of Alpha Court, a non-profit organization that provides subsidized housing and support to people dealing with mental health and addictions issues.

The Lodge on Dawson, a joint venture between The District of Thunder Bay Social Services Administration Board, St. Joseph’s Foundation, St. Joseph’s Care Group, Dilico Anishinabek Family Care and Alpha Court, will provide a 24 hours a day, seven days a week supportive environment for those who need extra help to transition from homelessness to permanent housing. Oftentimes people who are struggling with mental health and addiction issues end up in a cycle of homelessness, explained Latour.

“People will be housed and issues associated with mental health and addictions manifest themselves, they end up in a situation where they’re evicted,” said Latour.

A person in that scenario may be re-housed with the help of an organization such as The District of Thunder Bay Social Services Administration Board (DSSAB), but often find themselves in the same situation all over again.

“There wasn’t an opportunity for them to stabilize to address the mental health or problematic substance use issues and to receive appropriate supports,” said Latour. “This is very difficult primary, and most importantly, on the individual themselves but also the system in terms of the cost of emergency room visits, shelter use, health outcomes and so forth.”

The Lodge on Dawson, which will be located in what was previously The Thunder Bay Inn on Dawson Road, will provide those supports to residents to work through mental health or addiction issues as well as learn skills that are necessary to maintain housing.

See the full story with pictures in the print and digital editions of The Chronicle-Journal.

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