Halifax faces a bigger housing problem than this time last year, according to local housing advocates.
“That’s about a third more than last fall,” said Jim Graham, executive director of the Affordable Housing Association of Nova Scotia.
Graham says his organization has a development that is close to being ready for occupation.
“The Rapid Housing Initiative projects that started last year are online. They will be ready between, I would say, the first could be busy in October, maybe the end of next month, ”he says.
This weekend, Adsum House – a shelter for women and children in Halifax – sent out a tweet highlighting the need that exists.
“This is scary,” the tweet read. “The shelters are full. Twenty-three hotels we called are full. Airbnb did not work. There’s no place for the family to go in Halifax tonight but a tent.
The YWCA – an organization that “strengthens economic security, promotes well-being and creates opportunity for women and girls” – says it is seeing an increase in demand for its services.
“Our intake worker had 150 people who applied to him for housing in six months,” said Miia Suokonautio, YWCA Executive Director. “We have housing support workers whose job is to help people move into market housing. They can’t find units and people can’t afford to buy those units.
The province has identified a number of plots of land suitable for development, including affordable housing, but those projects are years away.
Anti-poverty group Acorn is calling on the Houston government to immediately implement permanent rent controls and ban so-called renovations.
“Those are two things he could be doing right now, which aren’t something we might see results in five to 10 years from now,” Acorn spokeswoman Freyja Beattie said. “It’s something that would make a difference right now, especially as we approach the winter season.”
In a statement to CTV News, a spokesman for provincial housing minister John Lohr said Nova Scotia is facing growth it hasn’t seen in decades.
The spokesperson said the ministry is taking decisive action, working with other levels of government and community partners.