**** HRM Media Release
Statement regarding removal of three temporary shelters located on municipal property
The following is a statement from the Halifax Regional Municipality regarding the removal, on Friday, July 9, 2021 of three temporary shelters located on municipal property.
Below is an overview of the temporary shelters that were determined to be vacant and therefore removed:
· Crathorne Park (Dartmouth) – This shelter was removed following confirmation that the occupant had accepted temporary accommodations offered by the province.
· Victoria Park (Halifax) – The municipality determined the shelter to be vacated following confirmation that there had been no activity at this temporary shelter in recent days. On Wednesday, July 7, municipal staff placed locks on the vacated shelter. When municipal staff arrived on site this morning, they confirmed there was no occupant on site and there were no personal belongings present.
· Raymond Taavel Park (Halifax) – The municipality determined the shelter to be vacated following confirmation that there had been no activity at this temporary shelter in recent days. On Wednesday, July 7, municipal staff placed locks on the vacated shelter. When municipal staff arrived on site this morning, they confirmed there was no occupant on site and there were no personal belongings present.
The Province of Nova Scotia worked to ensure temporary accommodation options, that can bridge to permanent housing, were made available to all of the occupants present in the temporary shelters as of July 6, 2021 when the municipality issued notices.
To date, six individuals who had previously been occupying a temporary shelter have accepted a housing solution.
Further to the notices issued by the municipality on July 6, occupants of temporary shelters were advised that they must vacate and remove all personal belongings. The notice also advised those who installed the temporary shelters that they must remove the structures from municipal property. A deadline date of July 13, 2021 had been given to remove the shelters – failing which, the shelters, and any personal items contained within the shelters, will be removed by the municipality on or shortly after this date without further notice.
The deadline date of July 13 was not a commitment by the municipality to refrain from removal of the temporary shelters prior to this date – rather, it was a notification that the shelters must be vacated by occupants and removed by those who installed them no later than July 13.
Halifax Mutual Aid Society, which has claimed responsibility for the installation of the temporary shelters, has publicly stated that it will not be removing any of the temporary shelters.
Whenever an occupant vacates a temporary shelter – prior to, or as of the deadline of July 13 – the municipality will take steps to remove the vacant shelter in as timely a manner as possible.
The province, as well as community-based partners including the Street Outreach Navigators and Housing Support Workers, continue to offer those experiencing homelessness with support and services. However, it is important to remember that those experiencing homelessness can choose to accept or decline housing options and offers of support.
The temporary shelters cannot remain on-site indefinitely. From the outset, the approach has been to allow occupants of homeless encampments to remain until adequate housing has been identified and offered, or until the health and safety of the occupants or public are at risk. Placing anything in a park for the purpose of temporary or permanent accommodation is not permitted under By-Law P-600 Section 8(2).
As housing insecurity continues to be an issue in the region, work with community partners and other levels of government has significantly accelerated, and collaboration has expanded to help address both affordable housing and homelessness.
For more information on the municipality’s approach to homelessness and initiatives to support for affordable housing, visit halifax.ca.