(Halifax, NS) Shelter Nova Scotia is applauding Halifax Regional Council’s decision to adopt the ‘Framework for Addressing Homelessness’ as a significant step in helping some of the city’s most vulnerable citizens impacted by the current housing crisis.
“The adoption of the framework really underlines City Hall’s commitment to addressing the issues around homelessness and this Council’s willingness to identify solutions,’ says Linda Wilson, Executive Director of Shelter Nova Scotia. “It is the kind of leadership that’s needed if we are going to stem the tide and find safe, affordable places to live for the marginalized individuals we work with everyday.”
Among the 33 activities endorsed in the framework that will guide Halifax’s response to the homelessness crisis, Wilson believes a full-time, daily and year round drop-in centre would substantially benefit those experiencing homelessness as well as those at-risk.
Currently, Shelter Nova Scotia operates seven facilities in the Halifax-area including a drop-in resource centre called The Hub. Launched in November 2021 and open twice a week, the Hub offers food, showers, laundry facilities and access to basic supplies while connecting people to the community resources they need, including housing support, eviction prevention programs and healthcare through a partnership with the North End Community Health Centre’s MOSH (Mobile Outreach Street Health) unit. In 2022, there were 4768 visits to the Hub and over 5700 meals served. Nearly 70 per cent of individuals served were male or male-identified and the highest-represented age group was 45-64 years old.
“In December alone, over 200 individuals accessed help through the Hub, nearly 1300 meals were served and the demand for showers and laundry was unprecedented – we routinely operate waitlists for these services and work to fit people in outside of drop-in hours,” says Wilson. “After operating shelters like Metro Turning Point for 50 years now, we knew the need was sky high when The Hub opened and unfortunately, it’s only grown since then - just last week, we saw our highest total ever for drop-in.”
Wilson is hopeful the provincial government will see the benefit of Halifax Regional Council’s proposal and commit to collaborating with the municipality on the daily year-round resource centre in particular.
“There is undoubtedly an unmet need here and I’m encouraged that governments of all levels are beginning to recognize these gaps – working together is how we’ll make the biggest difference in the lives of the people we serve.”
Read the Framework for Addressing Homelessness.