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‘Incredible allies’ give emergency shelter in Halifax a new home

Mi'kmaw Native Friendship Centre provides Out of the Cold emergency shelter with new space

2 min read
caption Out of the Cold emergency shelter's new location.
Kristina Pappas

The Out of the Cold emergency shelter has a new home for the rest of winter after suddenly being forced out of its space earlier this month.

Starting Friday, the shelter of last resort is operating inside the Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre on Gottingen Street.

“Really, the Friendship Centre is the hero in this story, for sure. They’ve been incredible allies,” said Liam Power, the shelter’s volunteer co-ordinator.

At the beginning of January, the people running the shelter were happy to have a new home loaned to them by the Friendship Centre. They moved in to the property on College Street during the second weekend of January.

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Then, the unexpected happened. A pipe burst on Jan. 18, forcing them to evacuate.

They had just finished training 40 new volunteers and the night staff were starting to arrive when the pipes in the ceiling burst, said Power.

“It just started pouring from the ceiling. There was some pretty major flooding,” he said.

That night, the Canadian Red Cross stepped in and replaced the cots and donated food. Guests were put up in the Needham Community Centre for a few nights before moving to the Brunswick Street Mission, where they’ve been for nearly two weeks.

Power said the alliance with the Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre happened by chance when an Out of the Cold representative met with Pam Glode-Desrochers, the centre’s executive director.

“She just said, ‘Listen, just come set up in our space. We’ll house you for the next 90 days or however long you’re open,’” said Power.

Out of the Cold got the word out to their guests by contacting other shelters and community groups. They also put a poster up at Brunswick Street Mission to tell people where to find the new shelter.

“We’re feeling very thankful. We’re feeling very blessed. We’re excited to provide shelter,” said Power.

As for the future, Power isn’t quite sure where the shelter will go. But he said they would like to partner with the Friendship Centre long-term.

No one from the Friendship Centre could be reached for a comment.

Power said the shelter is usually always at capacity. They have 20 cots, five more than last time thanks to the Canadian Red Cross.

Organizers ask people to use the Cornwallis Street entrance with the red door beside Mainline Needle Exchange.

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About the author

Kristina Pappas

Kristina Pappas is a journalism student. She's from western Canada and is smitten with the east coast's charm. You can find her at a beach, exploring...

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