HALIFAX: The government of Nova Scotia is providing $6.4 million to create permanent supportive housing for people experiencing homelessness in Halifax and the Annapolis Valley.
This is in addition to more than $1 million recently invested in permanent supportive housing in Cape Breton, temporary shelter beds in Halifax and a community study focused on creating permanent housing options for up to 100 women and children.
As part of the announcement today, May 31, the Affordable Housing Association of Nova Scotia will receive $3.5 million to purchase properties in the Halifax area that will provide housing for people with the highest needs who might otherwise remain homeless.
The province has also committed $1.8 million per year to cover annual operational costs and on-site client services, such as clinical care, peer support, addictions and mental health supports.
“These initiatives further our government’s commitment to finding permanent housing for Nova Scotians experiencing homelessness and will reduce the need for emergency responses,” said Kelly Regan, Minister of Community Services. “I believe these units will be life-changing for many Nova Scotians and will help people receive the supports they need.”
As well, the Portal Youth Outreach Association will receive $1.1 million to create three new transitional houses for young people experiencing homelessness in the Annapolis Valley. The houses, planned for Middleton, Kentville and Windsor, will provide housing and supports for 14 youth aged 16 to 21 and will be ready by fall 2021. Young people can stay in these houses from three months to three years, depending on their needs and their capacity to transition to permanent housing.
This funding will provide access to safe housing and wraparound supports including school and career planning.
This funding is part of a province-wide effort to ensure Nova Scotians who are experiencing homelessness have safe, available housing, and to create more options for permanent supportive housing. Other recent investments include:
— $553,000 to fund permanent supportive housing for 14 men at two locations in Cape Breton
— $100,000 for four community organizations to develop a proposal for a community hub with a mix of permanent housing options for up to 100 women and children
— $350,000 to add 15 temporary shelter beds in Halifax
There has already been significant progress under the Integrated Action Plan to Address Homelessness, introduced in February 2020. From April 1, 2020, to March 31, 2021, 952 people were housed across Nova Scotia, compared to 567 in 2019-20.
“When you are experiencing homelessness, secure and supportive housing is the starting point for turning your life around. The pandemic has created additional challenges for already vulnerable homeless people, and this investment will make a profound difference in addressing the lack of supportive housing for people who are now unhoused in our community despite all available resources.”
– Jim Graham, executive director, Affordable Housing Association of Nova Scotia
“Youth transitional housing is key in the housing continuum and we are looking forward to a significant change in our response to youth that find themselves homeless. Having this step for youth transitioning to adulthood will provide a needed option to help with the stress that comes from family breakdown and couch surfing.”
– Russ Sanche, executive director, Portal Youth Outreach Association
— this funding will help provide permanent supportive housing for up to 100 people experiencing homelessness
— since June 2020, the funded housing locator in Halifax accessed more than 160 units to support families and individuals experiencing or at risk of homelessness
— in the Halifax region over the past six months, 107 fewer (net) individuals identified as homeless and 102 individuals were housed
— as of May 25, there are 383 people identified as actively homeless in the Halifax region and seeking support; this compares to 490 people on Dec. 8, 2020
— a homelessness count conducted in October 2020 reported 51 youth experiencing housing instability and homelessness in the Annapolis Valley.