Halifax city council voted unanimously Tuesday to provide another $1.2 million for modular housing units to provide shelter for those who have none in Dartmouth and Halifax.
Jacques Dubé, the city’s chief administrative officer, said it was urgent the motion go through.
“The timeline is today. We can’t finish these units without this money.” Dubé said.
Michelle Malette is the executive director for the Out of the Cold Community Association and is glad to hear that part of the increase is going towards offering support for staff, which was not in the original plan for the modular units.
“Once both sites are open, this will have a good impact. People will have access to something more stable than a shelter environment, somewhere with a kitchen and a shower,” she said.
While the site on Alderney Drive in Dartmouth is well underway, the location at the Centennial Pool in Halifax is far from finished. The staff report indicated that the goal would be to have people in the units by mid-March.
The units range from 9×9 to 10×10 feet. Each has a bed and a desk, and there is heat and electricity. There will also be access to washrooms each shared between five people, and a kitchen. These will be in separate buildings.
Province should pay, councillors say
While it was a unanimous motion to spend another $1.2 million on top of the $3.2 million already spent, many councillors said the province should be paying more of the bill.
“It’s time to send the province an invoice,” said deputy mayor Pamela Lovelace
Malette said at the start of this project Out in the Cold was not involved or consulted. However, since the units have arrived the staff members at the city have been supportive and consulting the group, which helps support the unhoused.
With 26 people set to occupy the modular units in Dartmouth in the coming days, councillors are excited to see those units occupied but said they wouldn’t make any promises on how quickly the Halifax structures would arrive.
Earlier in the day, Halifax councillors did a walk-through of the near-finished units in Dartmouth. Councillor Tony Mancini described the inside of a unit as looking like a “university dorm.”
“Touring the units this morning and seeing that space was the biggest sigh of relief I’ve had since the summer,” said District 1 Coun. Cathy Deagle Gammon.
The city hopes to have occupants in the units in Dartmouth within a few days, according to a staff report.
The extra $1.2 million is for electrical and mechanical infrastructure for kitchens, site security and mobile offices for Out of the Cold staff.
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Hannah Bing is a Halifax based writer who grew up in Nova Scotia. She loves writing about music, animals and her community. Her interests include...