Halifax starts removing tiny shelters for homeless in several locations
A group that builds small, insulated shelters for the homeless in Halifax says the municipal government has started to remove some of the structures at sites around the city.
The advocacy group Halifax Mutual Aid posted an image Friday on social media of one of the wooden structures being lifted up by heavy machinery. The group said the shelter had been occupied, and the person living there was at work when it was removed.
The City of Halifax confirmed in a statement late Friday that it had removed three temporary shelters from municipal property after determining they were vacant. On Tuesday, the city issued a notice requiring the occupants to vacate the shelters and remove their personal belongings.
Halifax Mutual Aid began erecting the tiny shelters in January in response to a shortage of affordable rental accommodation in the city.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Community Services has said home support workers are attempting to arrange hotels, and eventually permanent housing, for people staying in the shelters.
Carley Sampson said in an email it is up to the 12 residents of the shelters to accept the assistance, as it is a voluntary program.
She said the department has partnered with the Out of the Cold Shelter, which is prepared to offer individuals a safe place to stay as they seek permanent, stable housing.
The city said in its statement that six people who had been occupying the tiny shelters have accepted a housing solution, including the previous occupant of one of the shelters removed Friday. It said the other two shelters had been padlocked since Wednesday and before removal, staff confirmed there was no one present and no belongings had been left behind.
During the early waves of the pandemic, the city's homeless population grew, but Sampson said it has been declining this year.
She provided figures indicating that as of Tuesday, there were 352 people seeking housing, which is 138 fewer than on Dec. 8, 2020.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 9, 2021.