Living room more than just a place to relax
Nunatsiavut initiative offering support to those who need it most
The Nunatsiavut Health and Social Development Community Office in Happy Valley-Goose Bay has recently opened a living room space where people can go to relax, enjoy a hot beverage, watch a movie, spend time on a computer or just pass away some time in the comfort of a home-like environment.
The new initiative is another way to enhance supports and services offered to vulnerable people in the community including those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
“We felt with the number of people, especially beneficiaries, in our community who are utilizing the shelter, couch surfing, people who don’t have safe places to go — having a living room that they can go visit would be another way to help support them,” Nunatsiavut Health and Social Development team leader Sharon Edmunds said.
The community office also offers brown-bag lunches several days a week, Edmunds said, distributing about 200 lunches a month.
“This is an opportunity for people to get some food for themselves and we thought we would extend it a little bit more ... and have a space where they can go and sit down, enjoy their brown-bag lunches and also have a hot coffee or tea. They can have some toast and sometimes that might be all they have for the day that’s hot,” Edmunds said.
When it came to decorating the living room, she said, local crafters were quick to offer their time and talent.
“When we told our elders about this and that we would like them to do some artwork for the space, they were so happy. So there is some sealskin artwork on the wall. They also did some quilting and sewing,” she said.
People coming to the living room appreciate that the television has Netflix, Edmunds said, to watch a movie.
Internet access on the computer is also great for people who have no other means of connecting with their family, she said.
Having people come to the living room is also a way to introduce them to other programs and services such as the community office’s clothing initiative where people are encouraged to take donated clothing, at no cost, Edmunds said.
The living room is also used by the Family Connections Programs — where community health workers work one-onone with families who may need supervised visits with their children.
“We support them however we can, based on their needs. The room is another option for people to get out of their home, to have a different environment for their visits,” Edmunds said.
Opened just over a week, she said, the living room has seen about three people visit a day. That number is expected to increase, she said, as the weather gets colder.
William Pijogge is a regular visitor to the living room.
“I’ve been here for the last five or six days ... When I came here my friend was here on the computer. I’ve watched a few movies. I visits my grandmother and goes over to my moms and now this is a great place for me to go,” Pijogge said.
Edmunds said the living room, clothing program and brownpage lunches, are not just for Nunatsiavut beneficiaries but for all people who need such services.
The living room will be a great space not only in the winter but also in the summer when people want to get indoors from the heat and flies, she said.
“It’s not a big space. It’s just a regular living room with a couch and a chair and a computer desk. Not a lot of people can utilize it at one time. But, it’s a beginning,” she said.
William Pijogge says he enjoys spending time watching movies in the living room at the Nunatsiavut Health and Social Development Community Office in Happy Valley-Goose Bay.
The newly opened living room at the Nunatsiavut Health and Social Development Community Office in Happy Valley-Goose Bay.