Throughout the pandemic, the homeless population in Nova Scotia has become increasingly visible.
Over the past six months, Halifax Mutual Aid created temporary shelters for people experiencing homelessness.
Many of these shelters were placed throughout HRM, but now, the city says those shelters need to go — issuing notices to those living in them that they must vacate by July 13.
That’s left those living in them wondering where they will go next.
Andrew Spark has been living in one of the crisis shelters since February. When he woke up Tuesday morning to the notice to vacate, he said he was shocked and concerned about where he would end up.
“We have no idea where we’re going. They just showed up this morning and put a notice on the door,” said Spark.
Mike Savage, the mayor of Halifax, said everyone in the city currently experiencing homelessness will have options to be housed.
He said the Department of Community Services has assured him that there will be a place for everyone.
“The support workers are navigators who work in the community with people who are on the street will meet with each person and say, ‘Look, we have a place for you to go.’ Nobody is going to be left homeless,” he said.
“It’s not just for two weeks, it’s until we get permanent supportive housing if that’s what’s required.”
Other than not having adequate space at homeless shelters in Halifax, Spark said he doesn’t feel safe staying in them and that he prefers having his personal space in his shelter.
“The shelter system is really messed up,” he said. “I mean … I can’t even tell you how many friends I’ve had die in the shelter system in the last couple of years.”
For those who feel that homeless shelters are not the best situation for them, there will be other options available, said Savage.
“If people need to go to hotels, then they will be put in hotels if there is no other better option,” said the mayor. “But we want them to get the support that they need. You know, have some support around them that allows them to, if they wish, get back on their feet and have a better life.”