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.
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 report here). This is in addition to the $500,000 approved by Regional Council for emergency accommodations during the Aug. 31 meeting (see report here). On Jan. 11, 2022, Council approved an additional $1.2 million to support the emergency accommodations efforts, as well as address suitable temporary housing to address needs of unhoused residents.
The municipality has purchased the units and will 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 Province of Nova Scotia announced it is providing about $2.7 million to Out of the Cold Community Association to deliver wraparound, supportive housing services to the individuals moving from Gray Arena to the Dartmouth site.
The Dartmouth site is on Alderney Drive, near Church Street (see map below). Four modular units, an accessible unit and two support units, for a total seven (7) units will be located here. Based on single occupancy, this site will be able to accommodate 26 individuals.
The municipality finalized its work to provide 24 of 26 bedroom spaces at the Dartmouth modular unit site, including commissioning work to ensure all systems are operating properly and safely. Occupancy was approved for the four modular bedroom units (total capacity 24 persons) on Jan. 13; and the provincial service provider, Out of the Cold, facilitated placement of individuals on Jan. 16.
Work on the two additional barrier-free units and single washroom is ongoing and is anticipated to be ready for occupancy by early February.
Most individuals who have been accommodated at the Gray Arena, which has been used as a temporary emergency shelter for the past several months, have moved to the Dartmouth modular site. Alternate accommodations have been provided by the province to those individuals at the arena who did not relocate to the modular units. All residents have now moved and the process has begun to prepare the arena for re-opening to the general public. Details regarding status will be shared once available
The Halifax site will be located on a portion of the parking area of the Centennial Pool (see map below). Six modular units, an accessible unit and a number of support units, for a total of nine (9) units, will be installed at this location. Based on single occupancy, this site will be able to accommodate 38 individuals.
Now that the Dartmouth site is complete, the municipality has shifted its focus on completing the Halifax modular unit site.
It’s important to note that exact timing of occupancy is dependent upon the province, which is responsible for determining placement of individuals and providing wrap-around services onsite through its service provider.
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.
- The municipality has provided $70,000 from the funding approved by Regional Council to a coalition of 11 community service providers for use as crisis funding for hotel stays to support those experiencing homelessness.
- In conjunction with service providers, the municipality is also directly covering the cost of hotels rooms for some individuals. An additional allocation from the funding approved by Regional Council will be provided to this group.
- Between September and the end of the first week of January, 109 people have accessed hotel rooms via this funding, for a total of 2,496 nights.
- 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.
- During the winter of 2020/21, the municipality provided $60,000 through the Downtown Halifax Business Commission (DHBC) to help Street Outreach Navigators provide short term stays to the most vulnerable individuals – those sleeping outside (including those in temporary structures), without shelter, and/or facing immediate danger of homelessness.
- This support also included increased access to services and supports with the goal of finding more permanent housing.
- The municipality is the primary funding partner for the Street Outreach Navigators through the downtown business improvement districts for Halifax and Dartmouth. The annual contribution for 2021/22 is $140,000.
Click here for more information on recent and ongoing efforts.