Nova Scotia earmarks $6.4 million for affordable housing in Halifax and Annapolis Valley

The sizeable homeless community in Moncton, who generally sleep in tents, say warm weather like this can be very dangerous for them, with few options of places to cool down.

The Nova Scotia government is pledging $6.4 million to create permanent supportive housing for people experiencing homelessness in Halifax and the Annapolis Valley.

Announced Monday, the funding will provide the Affordable Housing Association of Nova Scotia with $3.5 million to purchase properties in the Halifax area.

The province has also committed $1.8 million annually to cover operating costs and on-site client services, such as clinical care, peer support, addictions and mental health supports.

"When you are experiencing homelessness, secure and supportive housing is the starting point for turning your life around," Jim Graham, executive director of the Affordable Housing Association of Nova Scotia, said in a release.

"The pandemic has created additional challenges for already vulnerable homeless people, and this investment will make a profound difference in addressing the lack of supportive housing for people who are now unhoused in our community despite all available resources."

Additionally, the Portal Youth Outreach Association will receive $1.1 million to create three new transitional houses for young people experiencing homelessness in the Annapolis Valley.

The houses, planned for Middleton, Kentville and Windsor, will support 14 youth, aged 16 to 21, and will be ready by fall 2021.

Young people can stay in these houses for three months to three years, depending on their needs. It will also provide additional supports such as school and career planning.

According to the province, a count conducted in October reported 51 youth experiencing housing instability and homelessness in the Annapolis Valley

Collectively the funding will help provide permanent housing for up to 100 people.

The funding is in addition to more than $1 million that was recently invested in permanent supportive housing in Cape Breton, temporary shelter beds in Halifax, and a community study focused on creating permanent housing options for up to 100 women and children.

Other recent investments include:

  • $553,000 to fund permanent supportive housing for 14 men at two locations in Cape Breton
  • $100,000 for four community organizations to develop a proposal for a community hub with a mix of permanent housing options for up to 100 women and children
  • $350,000 to add 15 temporary shelter beds in Halifax

As of May 25, the Nova Scotia government says there are 383 people identified as actively homeless and seeking support in the Halifax region. For comparison, there were 490 people in December.

NEW REPORT HIGHLIGHTS 'URGENT NEED' FOR HOUSING

The funding comes on the heels of a new report prepared by the Affordable Housing Commission that details the province's urgent need for improved affordable housing.

The 61-page report, titled Charting a new course for affordable housing in Nova Scotia, includes 17 recommendations and 60 actions, aimed at the provincial government to help meet the diverse housing needs of Nova Scotians

The commission calls on the province to commit $25 million for a number of quick-start investments to support between 600 and 900 households in the very near term.

The commission says its recommendations are rooted in its belief that everyone has the right to adequate housing. It also believes that housing is a critical sector of the economy and a social determinant of health.

Over the past six months, the commission completed an extensive public consultation process, drawing on insight from 36 experts and more than 2,000 Nova Scotians.