Status update on Halifax Forum temporary emergency shelter

The Province continues to work on initiatives to better support vulnerable Nova Scotians experiencing homelessness.

This week, a new temporary emergency shelter with capacity for 70 beds opened at the Halifax Forum’s multi-purpose centre. Thirty beds have been held for people at encampments at the Grand Parade in Halifax and Cobequid ball field in Lower Sackville.

Outreach workers and navigators are working with people at the encampments and encouraging them to go to the new shelter, which will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week until August 31. Transportation is available. The Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) identified the location as one that a provincially funded service provider could operate in winter and spring.

“There is currently space in the Forum shelter, and we’re encouraging people sleeping rough to make the connection with outreach workers and come inside,” said Trevor Boudreau, Minister of Community Services. “Once at the shelter, service providers can connect people to the services and supports and help create a path to more permanent housing.”

With funding from the Department, the Old School Gathering Place in Musquodoboit is providing temporary winter co-ed accommodation for six people who are experiencing homelessness. This will provide a safe, warm place for people to sleep to the end of April.

In addition, free annual Halifax Transit bus passes are available for people who receive Employment Support and Income Assistance (ESIA) in HRM. The pass is provided to any ESIA recipient, as well as their spouse and dependents, without having to provide proof of their transportation needs. The cost is covered by the Department in partnership with HRM.

New supportive housing units for 32 women and gender-diverse people, announced in November, will open February 5 at the former Waverley Inn on Barrington Street in Halifax. YWCA Halifax will provide 24/7 on-site support.

Because of the configuration of the available land, it has been determined that the Halifax Forum site is not suitable for a Pallet village. There is not enough space for all that would be required, including the Pallet units and washroom and laundry facilities. A Pallet village must consist of 10 or more units and the Halifax Forum location cannot accommodate the required 10 units. The Province and HRM continue to assess other sites and will provide more information in the next two weeks.

Quick Facts:
— the Province is providing about $3 million for the temporary emergency shelter in the multi-purpose centre of the Halifax Forum shelter, which opened Monday, January 22, and $43,700 to the Old School Gathering Place
— the Halifax site brings the total number of shelter beds in the municipality to 355, and the total provincewide to 493
— there are currently 643 supportive housing units across the province, with 474 created since fall 2021
— the Province purchased 200 units from Pallet, 100 designated for HRM and 100 for other communities, including Sydney and Kentville
— the Province will invest $7.5 million in shelters produced by Pallet, which includes bed frames, mattresses and desks, as well as support operations


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