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Those sleeping rough in HRM nearly doubled since 2022: survey

By Caitlin Snow Aug 3, 2023 | 1:23 PM

David J. Boozer / Unsplash

The amount of people sleeping rough in HRM has nearly doubled since November 2022, according to a survey by the Elizabeth Fry Society of Mainland Nova Scotia.

The survey, taken July 11, says 178 are sleeping in places like abandoned buildings, in tents and on benches, for example.

The Society says reno-victions and fixed-term-leases have contributed to the newly homeless, especially in Bedford and Sackville and that increases in rent are growing faster than personal and family income. Even with the opening of The Overlook and The Bridge Shelter, they say more needs to be done to combat this problem, including more affordable housing as well as prevention measures. This would include increasing diversion funds like NGOs, moving minimum wage to living wage legislation and increases to CPP, OAS, IA and CCTB.

Elizabeth Fry Society says we need stronger legislation to protect low-income tenants and to get rid of fixed-term leases. General raises in things like CPP, OAS and ESIA are not matching the growth in inflation, with rent rising faster than incomes.

According to the Affordable Housing Association of Nova Scotia, about 977 people are currently homeless in Halifax.

Meantime, Minister of Community Services, Karla MacFarlane told reporters recently that it’s normal to see more people living in tents in the summer with the weather being warmer. However, she said they are taking the issue of homelessness very seriously and that there is more they can do.


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