N.S. inmates worry housing during COVID-19 could end unless funding extended


Several advocacy groups in Nova Scotia say 20 provincial inmates who shifted to community housing during the COVID-19 crisis could lose their residences by the end of the month unless a fresh source of funding can be found.

A release from the John Howard Society of Nova Scotia, the Elizabeth Fry Society of Mainland Nova Scotia, and Coverdale Courtwork Society says the groups have been providing emergency housing in two hotels for the inmates, and helping them gradually find other accommodations.

The inmates have also been receiving support and services from on-site staff during the pandemic thanks to the Affordable Housing Association of Nova Scotia, which was receiving money from the federal Reaching Home program.

However, the agencies say the program, supported by Employment and Social Development, is wrapping up its support, and without some other source of about $60,000 per month, the assistance to the inmates would end this month.

Emma Halpern, the regional advocate of the Elizabeth Fry Society of Mainland Nova Scotia, says the groups are looking for help from the provincial Justice Department to help keep the inmates from a return to jail or life on the street.

She says a request has been sent asking for at least three months of support to give the societies more time to find housing for the former inmates.