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Stress builds as deadline to vacate some Halifax homeless encampments inches closer

HALIFAX — A volunteer at a downtown Halifax homeless encampment is losing hope that its residents will find alternative shelter once the city’s deadline to leave comes in one week’s time.

Stephen Wilsack has been volunteering for several weeks at the Grand Parade encampment, home to between 15 to 20 people sleeping in tents in the square in front of city hall.

Less than two weeks ago the municipality asked tenters at the Grand Parade and four other authorized homeless encampments to leave by Feb. 26, saying better options are available, including a city-run shelter with more than 50 beds in another part of town.

Wilsack says he was initially hopeful all the Grand Parade residents would find alternative housing, but with only a week left until the city’s deadline he doesn’t think that will be possible.

He says about five people have left the encampment for addictions treatment, shelters or to find housing in another province. 

In that same time, Wilsack says a few new people have arrived at the Grand Parade looking for a safe, warm place to sleep.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 19, 2024.

The Canadian Press

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