Recent and ongoing efforts

Updates on municipal efforts to support those experiencing homelessness

View all municipal updates and statements regarding the municipality's efforts to support those experiencing homelessness in the region, as well as issues and actions related to homelessness in our region.

Recent Efforts Timeline

Spring 2024

Read the June 7, 2024 Municipal Update: Helping address homelessness in the Halifax region

Read the June 4, 2024 - Staff report to Regional Council

Winter 2023/24

March 15, 2024 - Municipality issues Request for Expressions of Interest for Long-Term Shelter Options

In coordination with the Province of Nova Scotia, the Halifax Regional Municipality is seeking options through a Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI) for a long-term indoor shelter space to provide overnight accommodations for approximately 100 people experiencing homelessness.

The municipality will assess and provide all viable responses that meet the criteria to the Province of Nova Scotia for consideration as a replacement site for the provincially funded shelter at the Multi-Purpose Centre of the Halifax Forum. As previously stated, this facility is scheduled to return to its intended purpose for the community on August 31, 2024.

Those interested in responding to the RFEI are to contact the broker, Cushman & Wakefield Atlantic, with any inquiries at or 902.414.7264.

The municipality continues to work with and listen to those experiencing homelessness to identify barriers for those who may not or cannot accept indoor sheltering options. These insights have helped inform considerations outlined in the RFEI for a potential long-term indoor shelter space. This information is also shared with the province to inform ways to address these barriers in existing provincially funded facilities.

The RFEI can be viewed here.

Encampments & designated locations

Temporary emergency shelters

  • Notice for Jan. 9-11: A temporary emergency shelter to support those experiencing homelessness during a rain and wind event was opened at 6210 Young Ave, in the Multi-Purpose Centre (attached to the Halifax Forum) from 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 9 until 9 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 11. Also, Beacon House (125 Metropolitan Ave, Lower Sackville) was open 24/7 and provided those experiencing homelessness with emergency supports during extreme weather.
  • The municipality worked with the province to open a new temporary emergency shelter in Halifax that provides wraparound services 24 hours a day, seven days a week for six months. Located at 6210 Young St. in the Multi-Purpose Centre (attached to the Halifax Forum), the facility will operate from Jan. 22 until August 31, 2024. For more information, see the joint news release from the Halifax Regional Municipality and the Province of Nova Scotia.
  • During significant weather events, the province will activate temporary emergency shelters for overnight accommodation. This is typically when temperatures are -10 degrees Celsius or below (accounting for wind chill) and/or snowfall amounts are 15 cm or greater. The municipality supports the province by providing access to municipal facilities, for their use as temporary emergency shelters, as well as operational support. These type of temporary emergency shelters often operate in tandem with warming centres, which are coordinated by community organizations, so those experiencing homelessness have accommodations both overnight and during the day. For more information visit the municipality’s Emergency Accommodations webpage

Additional indoor sheltering spaces

  • More shelter spaces are needed for those experiencing homelessness. The municipality and the province are working together to ensure longer-term solutions are available and more information will be provided in the near future.

Access to heat and power

  • As temperatures have gotten colder, there has been an increase of fires in tents and other shelters where people are sheltering outside.
  • As fuel-based appliances should never be used in or near tents due to the significant fire and carbon monoxide risk, the municipality is looking at other opportunities for heat and power. More information on these options will be provided in the coming days and weeks.
  • In the interim, extra funds have been provided to street navigators with the Business Improvement Districts to provide winter supplies such as winter grade sleeping bags.

Wellness checks

  • Municipal staff and Street Navigators will continue to visit the designated outdoor sheltering locations as well as various encampment locations throughout the region to ensure support is provided to those who need it. 

Support for Volunteers

  • Several groups of volunteers have formed in different locations over the past several months to assist those experiencing homelessness. In addition, the provincial 211 and municipal 311 call centres have received daily calls from residents looking to help their unhoused neighbours.
  • To assist with coordinating the support of these groups of volunteers, the municipality has assigned a Community Developer to provide support to the volunteer groups. This staff person will be a liaison between the municipality and the groups of volunteers, helping them to coordinate their efforts in ways that are beneficial, meaningful and aligned with shared objectives. There is excellent goodwill in the community and the staff support will play a crucial role in channeling that generosity into activities that are better organized, have a greater impact, and are safer for everyone involved.
  • The support for volunteers position has recently been appointed and has already started working with the volunteer groups.    

Meals during the holiday season

  • Funding of $8,500 (originally budgeted for the annual New Year’s Day Levee) was provided by Regional Council to the North End Community Health Centre to purchase and distribute warm meals to those experiencing homelessness.
  • One warm meal per day was distributed at various large encampment sites throughout the municipality on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. 
Fall 2023

New Emergency Shelter

  • The municipality is supporting the Province of Nova Scotia in the operation of an emergency shelter for those experiencing homelessness. The 24-hour shelter, located at 197-199 Windmill Road in Dartmouth, opened on Friday, Nov. 17 and will remain open for the next 30 months, until May 2026. For more information, see the Province of Nova Scotia’s news release.

Grand Parade

  • The municipality advised people sheltering in Grand Parade that remaining in this location for the winter is not an option due to safety concerns. The use of large snow clearing equipment to conduct winter operations in Grand Parade poses a critical safety risk for those currently sheltering in the area.
  • Municipal outreach workers and street navigators engaged with those currently sheltering in Grand Parade to assist in their relocation.
  • If those sheltering in Grand Parade do not or cannot accept alternative indoor sheltering location options, the municipality will work with service providers to support people moving to one of the municipality’s current or new designated outdoor sheltering locations.

Waverley Inn

  • The former Waverley Inn in Halifax's south end is set to host a dedicated, long-term supportive housing facility for women and gender-diverse people experiencing homelessness. The shelter is anticipated to open in Dec. 2023. The municipality will be providing in-kind property maintenance support for the shelter site, including required inspections and any work required to bring the site to compliance. The municipality will also be providing regular garbage pickup and snow clearing. 

Tiny Home Community

  • The municipality is working with the Province of Nova Scotia to build a tiny home community. This pilot community will have 52 units, providing housing for about 62 people. The community will be built on surplus municipal land in Lower Sackville.
  • Rent will be geared to income, which means that rent will be no more than 30 per cent of a person’s income. Community residents will be selected from the HRM By Name List and will receive the wraparound support they need to help them connect to employment and more permanent housing.
  • The municipality is providing the land at no cost and will also be providing regular garbage pickup, snow clearing and general property maintenance.
  • For more information, see the Province of Nova Scotia’s news release.

Pallet Shelters

  • In partnership with the Province of Nova Scotia and service providers, 100 pallet shelters will be installed in the municipality. Pallet is a North American leader in rapid-response shelter villages designed by people with lived experience.
  • The municipality is providing additional land, land servicing and preparation support, as well as operational oversight of the 100 units.
  • For more information, see the Province of Nova Scotia’s news release.

Informational video series via social media

  • In the coming weeks, the municipality will be launching a series of informational videos addressing commonly asked questions about the current homelessness situation in the region.
  • Each video will feature municipal staff – including Max Chauvin, Director of Housing & Homelessness – as well as community partners and will be posted on the municipality’s Instagram, Facebook, Twitter (X), LinkedIn and YouTube accounts. Residents will be encouraged to leave their questions in the comments, where they will be answered and potentially form the topics of future videos.
  • This initiative supports one of the four roles within the mandate of the municipality identified in the Framework for Addressing Homelessness: supporting public education efforts. 
  • The videos will be published on the Helping address homelessness webpage at the end of the series. 
Winter 2022/23
  • Regional Council approved the municipality's Framework for Addressing Homelessness.
  • The municipality added an additional outdoor sheltering location. For more information, see Common questions.
  • The municipality supported the Province of Nova Scotia as they augmented their support for people experiencing homelessness during the forecasted extreme cold weather from Friday, Feb. 3 to Sunday, Feb. 5, 2023.
Fall 2022
  • The municipality supported the Province of Nova Scotia as they began operating an emergency shelter this winter for those experiencing homelessness.

The shelter is located at 2029 North Park Street in Halifax, with staffing and support services provided by 902 Man Up. The shelter opened on Oct. 1, 2022 and operates from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. daily. The shelter serves all genders, and initially opened with 25 beds. This number increased to 40 beds on Nov. 15, 2022 and day programming was also introduced.

The municipality provides operational site maintenance for the shelter, including providing regular garbage pickup.

For more information, see the Province of Nova Scotia's news release.

  • On Nov. 24, 2022, the Province of Nova Scotia announced funding for another emergency shelter at 61 Dundas Street, Dartmouth. The shelter is being run in partnership with Christ Church and 902 Man Up and provides 20 beds for men, serving as an evening and overnight shelter only. 

For more information, see the Province of Nova Scotia’s news release.

  • On Dec. 1, 2022, the Province of Nova Scotia announced funding for a third emergency shelter at the site of the former St. Elizabeth Seton Church (125 Metropolitan Avenue, Lower Sackville). The shelter is being run in partnership with the Beacon House Interfaith Society and provides 20 beds for all genders, serving as an evening and overnight shelter only.

For more information, see the Province of Nova Scotia's news release.

Summer 2022
  • Effective July 5, 2022, Meagher Park is closed and the people currently sheltering will have a transition period until July 17, 2022 to move from the site. Read the complete statement here.
Spring 2022
  • On June 14, 2022, Regional Council endorsed a staff proposal for designated outdoor sheltering locations. For more information, see Common questions.
  • Occupancy permits were approved for 36 of the residential rooms at the Halifax site on April 14, 2022. 
  • Occupancy permits were approved for the barrier-free accessible unit (consisting of two bedrooms) and commercial kitchen at the Halifax site on May 3, 2022. 
Winter 2021/22
  • The Province of Nova Scotia extended the temporary overnight shelter for those experiencing homelessness until June 30, 2022. The Brunswick Street Mission site remains open daily from 9 p.m. until 8 a.m., replacing the temporary overnight shelter that had been operating at the Pavilion on the Halifax Common. 

  • Modification of the modular unit at the Dartmouth site to accommodate the commercial kitchen, while impacted by supply chain issues, was completed on March 18, 2022. 

  • On March 1, 2022, Regional Council voted to redirect $206,000 from education to funds that support purchasing and maintaining modular units.

  • Occupancy permits were approved for the two barrier-free bedrooms and single washroom at the Dartmouth site on Feb. 8, 2022.

  • Occupancy permits were approved for the four modular bedroom units at the Dartmouth site on Jan. 13, 2022. 

  • On Jan. 11, 2022, Regional Council approved an additional $1.2 million in spending to purchase and install modular units at the Halifax and Dartmouth sites, as well as address suitable temporary housing to address needs of unhoused residents.

Fall 2021
  • The Province of Nova Scotia announced the Executive Panel on Housing on Nov. 25, 2021. As this is a provincial initiative, all inquiries should be directed to the Department of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

  • On Nov. 9. 2021, Regional Council 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 the report here).

  • On Sept. 28, 2021 an Information Report was provided to Regional Council regarding emergency supportive housing and shelter accommodations.

Summer 2021
  • On Sept. 18, the municipality was contacted by professional service providers and volunteers at the homeless encampment located at Meagher Park requesting support to immediately relocate individuals from the park due to an increased risk to the health and safety of both the tent occupants and the public. The municipality took immediate action to secure alternative, safe, temporary accommodations and transitioned Gray Arena to a temporary emergency shelter with Out of the Cold as the service provider and funding from the province for wrap around services.  In collaboration with professional service providers, several individuals who accepted this offer, were placed into these temporary accommodations. 

  • On Sept. 16,  the municipality announced that Assistant Chief of Emergency Management, Erica Fleck, was assigned to a three-month role — from Sept. to Dec. 2021 — to lead the urgent operational efforts to advance Council’s directive regarding emergency housing measures.

  • On August 31,  Regional Council approved $500,000 for emergency accommodations (see the report here).

  • On August 18, the municipality issued a statement regarding the removal of homeless encampments on municipal property.

Rapid Housing Initiative

The municipality has been allocated more than $20 million through the federal government’s Rapid Housing Initiative program which will result in 137 units of new permanent, affordable housing.

  • In late 2020, Regional Council approved the funding for three affordable housing projects by Adsum for Women and Children. Mi’Kmaq Native Friendship Centre, and the North End Community Association for a total of 52 affordable units.  The projects will include a focus on people who are experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness including urban Indigenous people, women and their children, Black Canadians as well as people with physical disabilities. Work on these three projects is expected to be complete by the end of the year and occupied by March 2022. View the staff report. 

  • Round two came to Council at the end of August 2021 with the approval of 85 units including the conversion of non-residential building in North Dartmouth through the Affordable Housing Association of NS; 8 modular homes on the Akoma site outside of Dartmouth; and 12 apartment units in West Chezzetcook with Souls Harbour. View the staff report.

  • Visit the Rapid Housing Initiative webpage for more information

Other Efforts
  • Other ongoing efforts to support those 'sleeping rough' outside in our community:

    • providing designated outdoor sheltering locations that offer services like garbage collection and water delivery.

    • electrical power is currently provided at two locations and staff are examining the feasibility of providing similar access to some additional locations over the coming weeks.

  • There are a number of recent affordable housing initiatives approved by Regional Council, including:

    • Secondary & backyard suites
    • Affordable housing surplus land category
    • Multi-year tax relief for non-profit organizations
    • Affordable housing grant program
    • Waiving of municipal related construction fees
  • Other ongoing efforts to support affordable housing include:

    • Housing & Homelessness Partnership
    • Affordable Housing Work Plan
    • Rental Registration By-Law
    • Shared housing
    • Clustered tiny homes Short-term rentals
    • Land-use regulation
    • Cogswell District project
  • The municipality continues to address regulatory and service barriers for people experiencing housing insecurity such as removing fees, tax relief and donation of municipal land for affordable housing projects and installing public washrooms.

  • The municipality is currently developing a long-term strategy to guide the municipality’s response to homelessness.