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Halifax homeless encampment residents prefer tents over new $3-million shelter

HALIFAX — People living in a downtown Halifax encampment say they feel safer sleeping in tents rather than a newly opened shelter that one unhoused resident says is “like a jail.”

Ric Young, who has been staying in a tent at a homeless encampment near city hall for about six months, toured the new 50-bed shelter at the Halifax Forum and says the facility isn’t a good option for him or his fellow unhoused neighbours.

On Monday the province and the Halifax Regional Municipality opened a temporary homeless shelter with room for 35 men and 15 women at a cost of $3 million. 

Young says the shelter, which is in an auditorium-like space with cots and yellow curtains between beds, doesn’t provide the same level of security, comfort or support afforded to people tenting at Grand Parade.

Steve Wilsack, a volunteer at the downtown encampment, said all of the 25 to 30 people living in tents at the Grand Parade site were offered a spot at the shelter — and only one person accepted.

Young says that as long as shelters are worse than tents, he won’t relocate until he secures a private room or apartment. 

“We are not convicts, but we’re being treated like convicts … that shelter is like a jail,” he said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 24, 2024. 

The Canadian Press

One thought on “Halifax homeless encampment residents prefer tents over new $3-million shelter

  1. Understanding the nuanced perspective of Halifax homeless encampment residents is crucial. Their preference for tents over a new $3-million shelter highlights the need for inclusive dialogue. Let’s address underlying concerns to ensure solutions align with the community’s well-being. 🏠💙

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