- Town left with one less regional housing choice.
- The Gary Broomfield Hostel and Diner, run by the Labrador Friendship Centre in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, shut this week.
The Labrador Friendship Centre has shut its hostel and diner in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, leaving the town with one less area for visitors to stay.
According to Jennifer Hefler-Elson, the Friendship Center’s executive director, the Gary Broomfield Hostel mostly sheltered and fed people coming into the province for medical appointments.
“It’s an unfortunate, tough decision. It’s not something that we did lightly,” Hefler-Elson said Friday.
“We’ve been dealing with problems since COVID began, and we’ve remained open mainly because of what the government has put into helping… You can’t continue like that.”
Hefler-Elson said the shutdown and laying off of eight to 10 staff members can be attributed to COVID-19, which has dramatically impacted services in the previous two years. The hostel and diner were shut for three months in 2020 and a temporary closure in 2021.
The center shut its doors only one day after an announcement from the Friendship Centre on Facebook. According to Hefler-Elson, renovations to make the center more compliant with COVID-19 limitations were already underway.
However, the structure will reopen in some capacity in the future, Hefler-Elson said, and the Friendship Centre’s other services won’t be impacted.
“We will be deciding what we will be proposing in that space and how we’ll do it. It will be a while, but it will reopen,” she said.
The hostel’s shutdown leaves one less choice in the province, which is already facing a housing crunch. Happy Valley-Goose Bay has also grappled with problems surrounding homelessness for years.
Part of the Labrador Inn in the town has acted as a crisis overflow shelter since 2020.
Source – cbc.ca