Two projects are set to house women and African Nova Scotians experiencing homelessness and housing instability in Halifax Regional Municipality within the year.
One day after announcing a new 65-unit supportive housing project in Dartmouth, officials from all levels of government gathered again via live-stream to announce the funding of 20 more units.
Souls Harbour Rescue Mission will build 12 units of supportive housing for women and children on the Eastern Shore.
Michelle Porter, founder and CEO of Souls Harbour Rescue Mission, said, “It will be more than a roof over their head. It’ll be a place where they feel valued, and where they can envision a future that makes sense for them.”
Akoma Holdings Inc. will run eight affordable townhomes for African Nova Scotians in Dartmouth, next to the Akoma Family Centre, on the site of the former Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children.
Spencer Colley, a board member of Akoma Holdings, said the project “has given us more encouragement to continue to do more bigger and greater things.”
“We have a lot of property that we want to deal with, a lot more housing than the ones that we’re going to do with the rapid housing,” he said.
Halifax Mayor Mike Savage said the city “is working very closely with other partners, but particularly with Akoma, to make sure that we can allow the development that they want.”
The federal government will give $2.9 million to the Souls Harbour Rescue Mission project and $2.7 million to the Akoma Holdings project, through its rapid housing initiative. The province will give $500,000 for both projects.
Federal Housing Minister Ahmed Hussen said that projects funded by the rapid housing initiative must be completed in 12 months and must be “deeply affordable.”
The officials did not say exactly when the units would be open to residents, or exactly what the “deeply affordable” amount would be.
Both Porter and Colley said that the residents of the 20 units have not yet been decided.
According to the Affordable Housing Association of Nova Scotia, as of Jan. 25, there are 184 women currently homeless and 91 people of African descent who are homeless in the HRM.
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Wilson Henry is a writer and amateur comics artist based in Halifax. Their interests include visual art, horses and podcasting.