The Lac La Ronge Indian Band is stepping up to help local homeless find a warm place to sleep during the current cold snap.

Approximately 15 beds are being provided at the Kitsaki Hall to those in need.

Scattered Sites operates a homeless shelter, but was forced to close for two weeks, after a client tested positive for COVID-19.

After being made aware of an overflow of homeless, Chief Tammy Cook-Searson opened up the emergency shelter for this week.

“We’re lucky that [Chief] Tammy is totally on our side,” said Ron Woytowich, Executive Director of the Kikinahk Friendship Centre, which operates the Scattered Sites Program. “And she arranged for them to be on reserve.”

Environment Canada issued an “Extreme Cold Warning” for La Ronge with a high today of -28. The windchill will make it even colder with frostbite in minutes. Tonight, a low to -38 and windchill of -45 and a risk of frostbite. The weather for Tuesday is similar with milder temperatures coming Wednesday.

The Kitsaki Hall will be used for remainder of this week.

Scattered Sites has an agreement with the Drifter’s Motel to house approximately a dozen people nightly.

“Before we started running the shelter, there was a minimum of one and most years, two people froze to death every winter,” explained Woytowich. “And since we started running the shelter, we can honestly say that we have not lost any lies. When we were open. That’s from November to March. And it feels good to do that.”

(Photo: Emergency Shelter at Kitsaki Hall. Courtesy of Chief Tammy Cook-Searson Facebook.)