The Adult Resource Centre (ARC) entrance off of the Alaska Highway near the Erik Nielson airport in Whitehorse on Feb. 4. The Yukon’s only halfway house will soon be located in a retrofitted unit of the Whitehorse Correctional Centre with a justice-focused NGO to take over programming, if the government approves a recent proposal. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

Refurbished Whitehorse jail unit, John Howard Society proposed to replace Salvation Army’s ARC

The Salvation Army’s Yukon Adult Resource Centre, territory’s only halfway house, is closing April 30

The Yukon’s only halfway house will soon be located in a retrofitted unit of the Whitehorse Correctional Centre with a justice-focused NGO to take over programming, if the government approves a recent proposal.

In a joint interview April 15, the Yukon’s director of corrections Andrea Monteiro and the John Howard Society of British Columbia’s executive officer Mark Miller said they’re hopeful cabinet will green-light their plan to replace the Salvation Army-run Yukon Adult Resource Centre (ARC).

The ARC, located just off the Alaska Highway between Two Mile Hill and the Whitehorse airport, is the only transitional, supervised housing facility in the Yukon, housing men who are newly released from jail, on bail or who otherwise require supervision but are not in custody. (There’s no halfway home for women in the Yukon.)

It’s set to close on April 30 — an extension from March 31 — with the land to be sold to the Yukon government and swallowed into a plan to expand the Alaska Highway.

“We are feverishly working away at making sure that the facility can be open on May 1 so that there is no break in service,” Monteiro said.

“We both, John Howard as well as Yukon government, are concerned about the men that are currently at the Salvation Army and we want to make sure that they have a safe place to go.”

(In an email April 14, Al Hoeft, a regional spokesperson for the Salvation Army, said there are currently eight residents at the ARC — seven in-house and one self-isolating at home — and that seven or eight will be transitioning to the new location.)

It’s the first time officials have publicly spoken about plans to replace the ARC since the News first reported in February about the facility’ impending closure.

Unit E of the Whitehorse Correctional Centre (WCC), a three-tiered building that’s behind the jail’s main structure, is tentatively set to become the ARC’s physical replacement.

Monteiro said renovations and upgrades are already underway to “normalize” the 40-bed unit — the ARC had a capacity of only 18 beds — and make it seem less like another part of the jail, including “bringing in furniture, fixtures and equipment that is not maximum security-grade.”

The changes will also extend beyond the unit’s physical aspects; Monteiro said the government will be looking to make legislative amendments so that Unit E will no longer be designated as a part of the WCC.

That will help reinforce “the fact that this is not just another unit of the correctional centre, it is in fact its own designated program and space and is not part of the correctional centre itself,” she said.

Meanwhile, the John Howard Society, a national nonprofit that offers services aimed at helping people involved in the justice system reintegrate back into the community, is set to take over programming, should the proposal be approved.

Monteiro said discussions with the society, which has more than 60 locations across Canada but is new to the Yukon, have been happening for about a month and things have come together “quickly.”

Miller said John Howard currently has one staff member in the Yukon currently undergoing a mandatory isolation period so that they’ll be “ready to go” at the end of the month.

The details of the programming to be offered at the new facility are still being worked out, but Miller said the society is experienced in “providing full service to communities and individuals,” including “providing basic levels of supervision,” assistance with finding housing and employment, and substance abuse and domestic violence supports.

Both he and Monteiro said they didn’t have concerns about the facility being so close to the jail — in fact, both said they saw it as an advantage.

“There will be questions about that for sure, I think, but I personally believe it’s something that will work, you know, extremely well,” Miller said.

“We currently work in correctional facilities in British Columbia where we have reintegration workers and perhaps we have residential facilities that are based, you know, quite a distance from the correctional facilities and that takes extra work, extra coordination, extra staffing services … it makes it difficult at times to connect to the services in specific communities.”

The proposed Yukon model, he said, will ensure that corrections and John Howard staff, as well as other NGOs in the community and Indigenous leaders, can work collaboratively and cohesively on transitioning someone back into the community.

Monteiro agreed, saying that having the WCC and the halfway house located on the same complex would allow for a better integration of programs and services between the two facilities.

“This really is an innovative partnership, all the way down from the location to a new NGO in the territory,” she said. “I’m very excited about the direction that corrections and the Department of Justice is going in here in the territory.”

Contact Jackie Hong at jackie.hong@yukon-news.com

Salvation ArmyYukon justice department

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Members of the RCMP’s traffic services team examine police markers on Range Road after a six-year-old boy was struck by a vehicle near the Takhini Arena in Whitehorse on Oct. 25. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Six-year-old hit by vehicle near Takhini Arena

Police were called to the scene around 12:15 p.m. on Oct. 25

Dr. Brendan Hanley, Yukon’s chief medical officer of health, speaks to media at a press conference about COVID-19 in Whitehorse on March 30. Two new cases of COVID-19 were identified in Watson Lake over the weekend. The cases are connected to three others in the community previously announced by officials on Oct. 23. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Two additional COVID-19 cases in Watson Lake bring total up to five

Individuals with symptoms and connections to the three other cases were tested over the weekend

Dr. Brendan Hanley, Yukon’s chief medical officer of health, speaks to media at a press conference about COVID-19 in Whitehorse on March 30. The Yukon government announced three new cases of COVID-19 in Watson Lake on Oct. 23. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Three new COVID-19 cases identified in Watson Lake

The Yukon government has identified three locations in town where public exposure may have occurred

Teagan Wiebe, left, and Amie Wiebe pose for a photo with props during The Guild’s haunted house dress rehearsal on Oct. 23. The Heart of Riverdale Community Centre will be hosting its second annual Halloween haunted house on Oct. 30 and 31, with this year’s theme being a plague. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Plague-themed haunted house to take over Heart of Riverdale for Halloween

A plague will be descending upon the Heart of Riverdale Community Centre… Continue reading

The Yukon government is asking for all claims in a lawsuit over the Takhini elk herd be struck by the court. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Yukon government asks for Takhini elk lawsuit to be struck

The Yukon government is asking for all claims in a lawsuit over… Continue reading

The Yukon government has filed a reply to an outfitter’s petition challenging the reduction of its caribou quota to zero. (Yukon News file)
YG replies to outfitter’s legal challenge over caribou quota

The Yukon government has filed a reply to an outfitter’s petition challenging… Continue reading

The Yukon government is encouraging people to get the flu vaccine this year, saying that with COVID-19, it’s “more important than ever.” (Black Press file)
Get flu vaccine, Yukon government urges

The Yukon government is encouraging people to get the flu vaccine this… Continue reading

Benjamin Munn, 12, watches the HPV vaccine in 2013. Beginning Jan. 1, 2021, the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine will be available to all Yukoners up to, and including, age 26. Currently the program is only available to girls ages nine to 18 and boys ages nine to 14. (Dan Bates/Black Press file)
HPV vaccine will be available to Yukoners up to, including, age 26

Beginning Jan. 1, 2021, the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine will be available… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

asdf
COMMENTARY: Me and systemic racism

The view from a place of privilege

asdf
Today’s mailbox: Electricity and air travel

Letters to the editor published Oct. 23, 2020

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Irony versus Climate

Lately it seems like Irony has taken over as Editor-in-Chief at media… Continue reading