'It broke me': Halifax homeless evicted from Dartmouth hotel
Advocates in Halifax are once again calling on officials to do more to address the homelessness issue in the municipality, after four people staying at a Dartmouth hotel were asked to leave with less than a days notice.
After the Municipality removed temporary shelters from public parks in the city last month, they paid for a group of people to stay at Dartmouth’s Comfort Hotel.
That changed on Tuesday, when Malcolm Kay and three others were told to leave the hotel by check-out time Wednesday.
“The staff came up to me, it broke me… I can’t stop crying, because I have my little guys,” said Kay, referring to his two pet ferrets.
Kay says they were previously told they could stay at the hotel until something more permanent was found.
Advocates say the last-minute eviction came as a surprise.
“The city knew there was a very definitive term of that hotel block, and nonetheless told everyone here, including the folks that moved into those hotel rooms, that they would be allowed those spaces for an indefinite period,” says Rachelle Suave, site coordinator for P.A.D.S Community Network, which is assisting some of the city’s homeless population.
Halifax mayor Mike Savage says it was his understanding that the hotel stay was open-ended, and he doesn’t know why guests were told to leave.
“You’ll have to ask the hotel that, it’s not a decision we made as a city in Council or city staff,” said Savage.
While housing is a provincial mandate, Savage says the municipality has accepted a moral responsibility to be a part of the solution.
The leader of Nova Scotia’s NDP says the newly elected PC government desperately needs to address the issue of homelessness and a lack of affordable housing in Halifax.
“There’s been no sense over these four weeks that the conservative government has really taken in and understood the situation, the urgency of the moment,” says Gary Burrill.
Savage says city staff are working to find new hotel rooms for those who need them, and are also looking at options to buy or rent a facility that could be turned into a shelter.