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Province continues efforts to support homeless, expands Dartmouth shelter: Minister Boudreau

By Caitlin Snow Dec 8, 2023 | 6:00 AM

The province is doing what they can when it comes to the homelessness crisis in Halifax Regional Municipality, according to Minister of Community Services, Trevor Boudreau.

Regarding the current state of affairs in HRM, Boudreau told reporters at a cabinet meeting that the death of a homeless man at a tent encampment in Dartmouth was tragic.

“I’ve said this number of times…we feel the urgency and we are working tremendously hard as a department, working with service providers, working with municipalities, engaging with others…”Boudreau said.

Boudreau added that they encourage those living rough to go to shelters to try and stay safe and warm. He said they are not only adding a new shelter, but expanding one, as well.

First, there will be 28 new units at The North End Community Health Centre for members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community.

The province said in a release it will provide 24/7 on-site support for people in the two buildings, including referrals to mental health and addictions counselling, employment services, skills training and more. Length of stay and services offered will be based on the needs of residents. One building has been filled and the second is expected to open this winter; all residents are from the By-Name List, a list kept by the Affordable Housing Association of Nova Scotia of people who are homeless and looking for stable housing.

In addition, the new shelter on Windmill Road is expanding its capacity to 100 available spots, up from 50, coming into effect this Saturday, December 9.

Boudreau said that shelter will still be able to respond to need during an emergency, such as a weather event.

There will also be more outreach support workers coming to HRM.  The province will provide $650,000 to Shelter Nova Scotia to expand the team. They will co-ordinate all outreach services across the municipality to reduce duplication of efforts and ensure that all people sleeping rough are connected to the services and supports they need to exit homelessness.

Preparation work also continues on the arrival of Pallet shelters. They were supposed to arrive by mid-December but have been delayed.

An update on those will be provided in the New Year.