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

Winter 2023
  • 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.

The province extended hours and added capacity at the established emergency shelters in Halifax, Dartmouth and Lower Sackville, and opened a temporary emergency shelter and warming centre in Halifax (1479 Barrington Street, St. Matthew’s Church), which was available 24/7.  

In addition, a temporary emergency shelter and warming centre was opened at the Old School Gathering Place in Musquodoboit Harbour. Funded by the province and staffed with volunteers from the municipal Joint Emergency Management team and local Ground Search & Rescue (GSAR) team, this location was available from Friday, Feb.  to Sunday, Feb. 5, 2023. 

Halifax Transit provided a bus pick up for those who are staying in municipally-designated outdoor sheltering locations, as well as several other locations that have been identified by service providers. Halifax Transit also provided bus tickets that was available through key service providers for those individuals who are not able to take the bus run on Friday, Feb. 3.  

The GSAR team conducted wellness checks at various locations throughout the municipality during the night on Friday, Feb. 3 and throughout the day on Saturday, Feb. 4. They also helped bring anyone who might not have been ready to come into an emergency shelter at night to one of the warming centres on Saturday, Feb. 4, thereby supplementing the support being provided by Halifax Transit. 

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
  • 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.