Halifax finds accommodations for 7 unhoused people, but stays are ‘limited’ – Halifax

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HRM says it has found “alternative, safe, temporary accommodations” for seven unhoused people living in Meagher Park — also known as People’s Park — but the city says those stays are limited.

In a release, the municipality said it was contacted by service providers and volunteers working at People’s Park on Sept. 18 asking for support to “immediately relocate individuals from the park due to an increased risk to the health and safety of both the tent occupants and the public.”

People’s Park, at the corner of Dublin Street and Chebucto Road, has become something of an encampment ever since Halifax Regional Police officers forcibly removed a number of unhoused people from tents and small wooden shelters around the city in August, sparking widespread protests and two dozen arrests.

While the city claimed at the time that everybody who was displaced was offered alternative housing, council later admitted that was not the case.

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The municipality said Tuesday that while stays at the accommodations are limited, it is working with the province and community-based partners to identify and offer other temporary accommodations and housing options.

It said the location of the temporary accommodations is not being released to protect the safety and privacy of those staying there.

“These current accommodations will be made available until alternate options have been secured,” the release said.

“Municipal staff continue to work to identify sites that have the potential to accommodate temporary housing and are assessing the appropriateness of their use for this purpose, as well as the potential costs.”

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Last week, the city faced criticism after it promised an extended stay for some people at a hotel in Dartmouth, but the occupants were told to leave with very little notice after it turned out the hotel only had rooms available for two weeks.

Tuesday’s release from the city noted that council recently voted to spend $500,000 on implementing emergency accommodations for unhoused people, and said if appropriate options are identified, professional community-based service providers will determine the suitability of the site for short-term housing and providing support.

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The municipality has also appointed Erica Fleck, the city’s emergency manager, to lead the city’s response to homelessness.

In an interview with Global News last week, Fleck said improving communication was a top priority for her and promised she would include unhoused people and the volunteers helping them in conversations going forward.

“As housing insecurity continues to be an issue in the region,” Tuesday’s release said, “work with community partners and other levels of government has significantly accelerated, and collaboration has expanded to help address both affordable housing and homelessness.”

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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