SLFNHA opens third hostel in Sioux Lookout to better accommodate clients
Tim Brody - Editor
Seen as an answer to an ongoing issue of client overflow, Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority (SLFNHA) has announced the opening of a third hostel in Sioux Lookout for First Nations clients traveling to the community for medical care.
SLFNHA shared that, “Since the beginning of 2023 SLFNHA has been unable to accommodate an average of 1,222 clients a month - forcing the organization to rely on hotel accommodation locally and in nearby towns. The new hostel will allow for additional secure and reliable accommodation in Sioux Lookout.”
SLFNHA currently operates and provides accommodation at three locations in Sioux Lookout: Jeremiah McKay Kabayshewekamik (JMK), Jeremiah McKay Kabayshewekamik 2 (JMK 2), and the newly opened hostel, which is soon to be named.
The new hostel is located at the former Sioux Inn and Suites and will open its doors to clients June 2023.
“Clients traveling from their homes need reliable accommodation and SLFNHA continues to ensure this service is meeting the needs of the communities we serve,” the organization noted.
SLFNHA also recently opened two health hubs as part of a commitment to bring services closer to communities, one in Keewaywin First Nation and the other in Muskrat Dam First Nation - a priority laid out in SLFNHA’s strategic plan. Additionally, SLFNHA said it will see two more health hubs in Webequie and Cat Lake First Nation in the coming months. The organization will continue to develop these Health Hubs across Kiiwetinoong.
“It was identified in 2022 that there was a problem with accommodating the volume of clients coming to Sioux Lookout for medical services. We were relying on Dryden, Ignace, Lac Seul and any available space in Sioux Lookout to accommodate client overflow. This was a dire issue as our clients are sick, elderly, children, have restricted mobility, cancer clients, and having a wide range of other health issues. Our staff, as well as myself, constantly felt the pressure of this situation. One day after a particularly trying day, while driving on the highway I asked the Lord to provide accommodations for our clients and their escorts in Sioux Lookout. I believe an impossible situation became a reality through answered prayer. Today, we are excited to announce SLFNHA’s much-needed third hostel facility is indeed a reality,” shared Sandra Linklater, Director Client Services, Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority.
“SLFNHA accommodations has come a long way over the past seventeen years when the old Zone’s 39-bed hostel was shut down in 2006. SLFNHA’s state of the art 100-bed facility, Jeremiah Mckay Kabayshewekamik, first opened its doors to clients in February 2011. The second hostel, a 120-bed facility, opened its doors to clients in 2019. Now in 2023, we are pleased to announce that we are opening a third hostel for an additional 89-beds, to accommodate the vastly growing number of clients coming through Sioux Lookout to access medical services. Taking clients outside of Sioux Lookout, sometimes as far as Ignace, ON for accommodations was not ideal, and with the opening of a third hostel we look forward to all clients being able to get the rest that they require, whether it be following medical appointments, procedures or after a long day of travel,” concluded James Morris, CEO and President, Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority.