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Halifax’s Out of the Cold shelter changes model amid COVID-19 pandemic

Click to play video: 'Halifax shelter finds new home to help people experiencing homelessness' Halifax shelter finds new home to help people experiencing homelessness
WATCH - Jan. 30, 2020: The Out of the Cold Emergency Shelter has been forced to relocate several times in the past few months. But as Alexa MacLean reports, it’s finally set its sights on a new home. – Jan 30, 2020

Changes are coming to one of Halifax’s emergency cold weather shelters as it deals with the new reality of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Out of the Cold will move to a “staff-only model” that operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the shelter announced in a social media post on Saturday.

That means no more volunteers, donation drop-offs or unexpected guests for the remainder of the season.

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The shelter will no longer accept referrals from the community, offer emergency beds or a supper drop-in service.

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Instead, Out of the Cold says it will be housing and supporting a set number of people experiencing homelessness.

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The changes come into effect on Saturday.

The shelter, which currently operates out of the Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre on Gottingen Street, says it has determined this is the best way to move forward as COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Nova Scotia.

“We have been working in cooperation with other shelters, government and public health,” the post reads.

“Thank you to all of our wonderful volunteers and donors for your time, energy and support this season.”

READ MORE: Moncton homeless shelters ill-equipped to manage coronavirus

It’s one of the first actions, shelters in the province have announced publicly in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

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As of Saturday morning, there are five confirmed cases and 10 presumptive cases of COVID-19 in Nova Scotia.

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