Halifax to open mobile shower for people experiencing homelessness

Click to play video: 'Advocates call for safer plan for homeless as Dartmouth arena is used as shelter'
Advocates call for safer plan for homeless as Dartmouth arena is used as shelter
HRM has secured temporary accommodations for some of the unhoused people who were living at an encampment. An arena in Dartmouth is now serving as a shelter, but as Amber Fryday reports, advocates are calling for a safer plan. – Sep 21, 2021

A mobile shower for people experiencing homelessness will open somewhere in Halifax Regional Municipality on Oct. 1.

Halifax Regional Council passed a motion on Tuesday that would have staff identify a location to house the shower trailer, in partnership with Mainline Needle Exchange — a harm reduction program — and Halifax Regional Library.

Council has recommended having rented portable shower facilities for a period of nine weeks, which would cost $16,999.

Read more: Unhoused people in Halifax and the concerns about shelter safety

However, Coun. Tony Mancini of Harbourview-Burnside-Dartmouth East has asked that staff return to council with a report on HRM buying its own trailer for a permanent mobile shower.

The cost is approximately $60,000 for the trailer plus the cost of the truck.

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“The shower trailer can be customized with materials, colours and layouts, and can be a small two-shower trailer that is quite easy to maneuver and park, or as large as six to eight stalls,” the report states.

The report to council said that the number of people sleeping rough in Halifax has more than doubled in the past year.

As of Aug. 10, 2021, 400 people are homeless, according to the Affordable Housing Association.

“The pandemic has exacerbated pressures on housing and shelter across HRM and led to a substantial increase in the number of individuals sleeping rough, with limited access to basic hygiene,” the report added.

In the meantime, Regional Council requests a staff report “examining the possibility of a pilot program providing shower facilities” through reconstructed transit buses or partnering with a community organization to provide mobile shower trailers.


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