Modular units, where are you? | City | Halifax, Nova Scotia


Wince August 31, the Halifax Regional Council has held a special meeting to discuss the housing crisis. It was only a few weeks after the violent police action on August 18, and the disturbing images of that day were still at the forefront of the city’s collective consciousness.

The meeting was mostly made up of councilors who felt remorseful, but included a bit of discussion on the next steps to deal with the housing crisis. From there came the promise to spend $ 500,000 on short-term housing and to give public updates for accountability every two weeks at every council meeting.

Then on September 29, Halifax Mayor Mike Savage and de facto housing manager Erica Fleck took their seats six feet apart at a press conference at City Hall. and told reporters gathered that 73 modular housing units would soon be making their way to the city for many. need emergency shelter for homeless Haligonians. The news was well received and people hoped that the current crisis would soon be at least slightly alleviated.

“Our goal is to deal with everyone in a way that meets their needs,” said the mayor at the time. It seemed that progress was being made.

But it is now November, and modular units are nowhere to be found. There has been no progress since that first announcement. No locations have been announced for the units, and no homeless person has been notified when, or even if, they will be able to move into a heated and insulated unit.

Although the first press conference given by Savage and Fleck generated great public interest, the only time since then the board has discussed modular units was at a meeting on October 26. No new information has come from this. “Staff are working to identify and secure a site in Halifax to install modular units, with confirmation of the location and number of units that can be placed yet to be determined,” a written update said. by Fleck. HRM has so far spent $ 144,746 of the $ 500,000, but already expects to increase this amount to $ 1 million in total to “continue to rehabilitate modular units and prepare for placement.”

Last week, Halifax District 7 downtown councilor Waye Mason told CBC the locations would be announced this week, but reminded him in an email to The Coast on Thursday. “I have nothing,” Mason wrote. “Soon, that’s what I hear.” A spokesperson for HRM also told The Coast, via email, “an update will be available next week.”

Fleck, who is supposed to do some fieldwork, has turned down repeated requests for interviews with The Coast since an October 8 interview (posted here on October 14). At the time, she said the units would be occupied “before the snow flies,” but the city has never given an exact date when people can expect the modular units to be ready.

“I’ve never seen these things, I don’t know if they exist. I don’t know anyone who has seen them in town.

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Meanwhile, those who should have inside information about the arrival of modular units have also learned nothing. “Nothing at all has been confirmed for us in any way,” said Michelle Malette, executive director of Out of the Cold Shelter in Halifax, the service provider designated to place people in the units once they are out. ‘they arrive. “I’ve never seen these things, I don’t know if they exist. I don’t know anyone who has seen them in town.

A Dartmouth hotel, the Travelodge Suites, is also in the process of being converted into a shelter, funded not by the city but by the Affordable Housing Association of Nova Scotia. This project will see the creation of 65 units, but modular units and more are needed to help the estimated 409 homeless people at HRM.

At this point, even though the locations of the modular units are announced next week, connecting electricity, water and sewer services could still take several weeks, leaving service providers to battle the cold to select clients who can move in. , notify them and set up wrap-around services on site.


About Oscar L. Smith

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