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Major changes at Centre for Northern Families
Shelter to be run more like a business

Galit Rodan
Northern News Services
Published Tuesday, May 1, 2012

After years of financial struggles, the Centre for Northern Families will be undergoing major changes in hopes of ensuring it is viable in the future, said board co-ordinator Bree Denning.

NNSL photo/graphic

Bree Denning, board co-ordinator for the Centre for Northern Families, said the centre will be undergoing structural changes in the wake of an extensive organizational review. - NNSL file photo

Denning said the board of directors will be running the centre under more of a business model than a charitable model.

To this end, the centre will soon be posting advertisements to find its first CEO.

"We do want our CEO to have a solid background in social justice and all those types of knowledge but we want definitely a business piece in there as well," said Denning.

The centre will also be looking for a separate program developer as well as a daycare supervisor.

The changes come on the heels of an extensive organizational review funded by the Department of Health and Social Services and conducted by contractor Caroline Johnson, a former manager at the Centre for Northern Families who later led a British Columbia family resource agency through the accreditation process.

Johnson "applied accreditation standards to her thorough review and strategic plan for the Centre for Northern Families," Denning stated in a press release.

The centre will also be closing its three-bedroom transitional housing unit for women, effective May 31, in anticipation of a new transitional housing facility, the Betty House.

The sale of the trailer that has housed the centre's transitional housing unit since 2007 "will contribute to the financial stability of the centre," according to the press release.

Despite the elimination of the transitional housing unit, Denning said the aim is to improve services on the ground.

"What we’re hoping to do by changing some of our structure is to be able to do more case planning so hopefully it will affect the women for the better – hopefully we can get women matched up with the services they need," she said.

Another major change for the centre is the retirement of its longstanding executive director, Arlene Hache, who headed up the centre for 20 years and was one of its founding members.

She will leave her position this summer "to focus on social justice research and community development initiatives," stated Denning.

Hache did not return calls for comment.

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