HRM in final stages of finalizing Dartmouth location for 1st round of modular housing units

Click to play video: 'HRM waiting on province for emergency housing supports' HRM waiting on province for emergency housing supports
The co-ordinator of Halifax Regional Municipality’s emergency homelessness response says 24 modular units will soon be up and running but the province still hasn’t committed to investing in the social support services residents will need. – Oct 7, 2021

The project lead for Halifax Regional Municipality’s emergency housing response is hopeful that modular units will be up and running in Dartmouth within the next few weeks.

“We really are trying to engage with the population on the ground, both who are living there and those who are supporting them, to try and get the best resolution possible for those that are experiencing homelessness,” Halifax Regional Municipality homeless administrator Erica Fleck said.

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Fleck says the municipality has spent $240,000 on 24 units to be placed in Dartmouth and Halifax as an alternative to sleeping rough for people in need of emergency housing.

The funds are part of the $500,000 regional council approved for emergency housing measures to be developed for people who are forced to sleep in parks due to a lack of affordable housing options.

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“We have clearly articulated and communicated with the province that this is what we’re doing but you will need to contract the wraparound services so that people are safe,” Fleck said.

Fleck says the municipality is still waiting on the province to respond to its request to contract service providers that can offer residents social and health supports.

“The last thing that HRM is going to do is to open up any type of structure and just leave people to be on their own because that’s not safe, and that’s not a better alternative for anybody,” Fleck said.

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N.S. Community Services Minister Karla MacFarlane says she’s had several discussions with the mayor of Halifax and other municipal officials but a decision has yet to be made.

“We don’t have a financial number today, how we can do that, or if it will be maybe support for wraparound services for individuals that may be housed in these modular homes,” she said.

Fleck says the wraparound community provider supports required for residents will widely vary.

“Some of them have the mental health services, some of them have addiction issues that they work on, some of them have counselling, life counselling, and different types of counselling, depending on the needs of the group, or the individuals,” she said.

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Fleck says a Halifax location has yet to be determined and they’re looking at all available land options, from Crown to private.

“It’s been a big problem trying to find a piece of land that is zoned properly, that we can have sewer and water, and legally accessible for the clients that need these resources,” she said.

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