Dartmouth, N.S. community members to discuss modular housing plans for homeless

An information meeting is scheduled at the Dartmouth Zatzman Sportsplex Monday night to discuss the modular housing units that will soon be set up in downtown Dartmouth to assist the homeless.

With not everyone supporting the idea, Sam Austin, HRM council member for the area, wants to use the session to answer any questions the public may have. 

"For a project like this, everyone can be in favour of the public service," said Austin. “We need to provide housing. Everyone can support that in the abstract."

The units will provide housing to 24 people. Austin said some questions and negative reaction is starting to pop up.

"It is important to give a forum for people to ask those questions and get some answers," said Austin. "To get the nitty-gritty. How is it going to operate? What are the security arrangements?"

Royal Lepage Atlantic President Matt Hornsberger has yet to hear any negative feedback but says projects like this often spark concerns from nearby home and property owners.

“They are investing in what they know what the community is on the day they buy," said Hornsberger. "When they see a community change, it can cause people to get rankled a little bit."

Tim Rissesco from the Downtown Dartmouth Business Commission said he has heard some negative rumblings, but sees the issue as an opportunity for greater inclusion.

"Our brand for the last 10 years has been all together downtown Dartmouth," said Risessco. "And what that means is, that we are trying to build a community that has a place for everybody."

Austin said Monday night's meeting is a question and answer forum - not a debate about the modular units being set up at the Dartmouth location.

"They are coming. The reason I’m calling this information meeting, is because it's information about this project," said Austin.

Which means if community members attending Monday's meeting are hoping to turn down the idea, Austin said they would be out of luck.