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