The following outlines the types of emergency accommodations which are used during severe weather events and emergency events. Details on how the accommodations are initiated, by whom and when they are used is also provided.
Accommodations that support those experiencing homelessness
TEMPORARY EMERGENCY SHELTERS
Definition: Temporary emergency shelters provide overnight accommodations, comfort kits, food, water and warmth for those experiencing homelessness during a storm or cold weather event.
Agency responsible: Province of Nova Scotia
Note: The opening of temporary emergency shelters is determined by the province, in consultation with the municipality.
Role of the municipality: Supports the province by providing access to municipal facilities, for their use as temporary emergency shelters, as well as logistical support (e.g. cots, blankets, pillows, comfort kits, and food.)
Criteria: Per the provincial protocol, temporary emergency shelters are activated when temperatures are -10 degrees Celsius or below (accounting for wind chill) and/or snowfall amounts are 15 cm or greater. 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.
Typical location: The locations vary depending on which community/communities will be or have been impacted and are generally located in municipal facilities where resources, such as generators, are available. There may be occasions when community-based facilities are used.
Typical hours: 9 p.m. to 9 a.m. Hours of operation are subject to change due to scheduled programming and are normally coordinated with the availability of warming centres to ensure there is no gap in support to those experiencing homelessness who have been affected by the severe weather event.
Definition: Warming centres provide daytime accommodations as well as food, water and warmth, for those experiencing homelessness during a storm or cold weather event.
Agency responsible: Community-based organizations
Note: The opening of a warming centre is determined by the Province of Nova Scotia, in consultation with community-based organizations and service providers that support those experiencing homelessness.
Role of the municipality: Supports community-based organizations, and the province, which is responsible to lead addressing homelessness in all of Nova Scotia’s municipalities. If requested, the municipality will endeavor to assist with transportation needs. The municipality will also assist with amplifying communication about the warming centre through its municipal social media channels.
Criteria: Per the Extreme Weather Committee protocol, warming centres are typically activated during the day, when temperatures are -15 degrees Celsius or below (accounting for wind chill) and/or snowfall amounts are 25 cm or greater.
Note: The Extreme Weather Committee is comprised of several community organizations and service providers including ADSUM House and Out of the Cold.
Typical location: St. Matthew’s United Church, 1479 Barrington Street, Halifax.
Typical hours: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Accommodations that support all residents
Definition: An evacuation centre is a type of emergency facility which is opened when residents have to be evacuated from their homes due to a specific emergency event and where evacuees are received, needs are identified, and food, water and overnight accommodations are provided.
Agency responsible: Halifax Regional Municipality
Note: The opening of an evacuation centre is determined by the municipality, in consultation with the Province of Nova Scotia.
Role of the municipality: The municipality’s Emergency Management division makes the decision to open an evacuation centre, or multiple evacuation centres, if the situation warrants, and requests the support of the province’s contracted service provider, the Canadian Red Cross, who operate these evacuation centres. In the event the Canadian Red Cross is unable to operate an evacuation centre, these would be run by the municipality’s Emergency Management volunteers.
Criteria: Opening of an evacuation centre is based on projected extreme weather or crisis events, generally centred on the needs of the impacted community.
Typical location: The locations vary depending on which community/communities have been impacted. Evacuation centres are generally located in municipal facilities where resources, such as generators, are available.
Typical hours: The hours vary depending on the impact on the community/communities and are designed to meet their needs.
Definition: Comfort centres are temporary daytime accommodations where food and water is provided, as well as a place to charge devices and receive up-to-date information, when residents are impacted by prolonged power outages, extreme temperatures or other significant events.
Agency responsible: Halifax Regional Municipality
Role of the municipality: All logistics associated with activation of comfort centres.
Criteria: Generally based on needs of the impacted community. The municipality often makes the decision to open a comfort centre based on consultation with Joint Emergency Management volunteer groups.
Typical location: The locations vary depending on which community/communities have been impacted. Comfort centres are generally located in municipal facilities where resources, such as generators, are available.
Typical hours: The hours vary depending on the type of impact on the community/communities