HALIFAX: The following is a statement from the Halifax Regional Municipality regarding the ongoing efforts to address homelessness in our region.
The municipality recognizes the urgent and serious challenges being faced by those experiencing homelessness. Treating people with dignity, while working to find ways to best support them within our capacity and scope as a municipality, is a top priority.
At the Nov. 9 Regional Council meeting, councillors approved allocating $3.2 million dollars towards the purchase, installation and maintenance of modular units, at two sites, to accommodate unhoused individuals in our region (see report here). This is in addition to the $500,000 approved by Regional Council for emergency accommodations during the Aug. 31 meeting (see the report here).
The municipality will purchase the units and provide all typical municipal services, such as garbage pick-up, as well as cover the cost of utilities and maintenance on site. The estimated costs to purchase, install and maintain the modular units for the remainder of this year is $1,410,000 with operating costs of $20,000 for the Dartmouth site and $1,690,000 with operating costs of $20,000 for the Halifax site.
The Dartmouth site will be on Alderney Drive, near Church Street (see attached map). Fourmodular units will be installed at this location with capacity to house 24 individuals. The province is working to secure funding and identify a service provider to deliver wrap-around services required for the individuals moving from Gray Arena to the Dartmouth site.
It is anticipated that the province will be making an announcement on the status of the wrap-around services shortly. Occupants of Gray Arena will not be asked to vacate until alternate accommodations have been offered.
While the province is responsible to lead addressing homelessness in all regions of the province, the municipality also has an important role to play – and is committed to applying resources to support efforts aimed at helping to address homelessness in the Halifax region.
Once the modular units are installed at a Halifax site, the service providers working with the municipality and the province will be able to accommodate many of the people living in tents and temporary shelters, including those currently at Meagher Park. Staff continue to work to identify and secure a Halifax site. The location and number of units has not yet been confirmed.
Through the Rapid Housing Initiative, the municipality is also working with both levels of government to provide accommodations for up to 70 additional individuals in early 2022.
Pending the arrival and installation of the units at the Dartmouth location, as well as the completion of the installation of utility connections, the municipality anticipates these units will be ready by the end of November. Please note the municipality cannot confirm when individuals will be able to move-in as this is dependent on the securing of wrap-around services by the Province of Nova Scotia.
Previous updates indicated the municipality had purchased 24 modular units. Following an inspection, the purchase was rejected in accordance with the terms of the purchase order, after it was determined that none of the units were deemed to be suitable for the municipality’s use.
Additionally, Regional Council approved a Social Policy Strategist position which has recently been filled. In addition, a hiring process is underway for a full-time Housing and Homelessness Coordinator on a 12-month term.
For more information on the municipality’s approach to homelessness and initiatives to support affordable housing, visit our website.