Halifax picks 3 housing projects to share $8.6M in federal funding

·2 min read

Halifax council has unanimously approved three housing projects for funding under Ottawa's Rapid Housing Initiative.

Proposals from Adsum House, the North End Community Health Association and the Mi'kmaq Friendship Centre will share the $8.6 million allotted for Halifax.

The Mi'kmaq Friendship Centre's project will provide emergency shelter and permanent housing for its urban Indigenous clients at a property it owns at 5853 College St., but it will require a rezoning. The councillor for South End Halifax said during a debate on Tuesday that given what the property has been used for the rezoning is worthwhile.

"What that site was up until three years ago was a low security halfway house run by Corrections Canada," explained Coun. Waye Mason. "And frankly the building is quite old and they'll be replacing it."

Regional council also agreed the three groups should apply for 100 per cent exemption to the municipal property taxes for their sites to ensure the units remain affordable over the next 20 years.

Hopes to help other projects

Councillors were also interested in finding other ways to help the nine other projects that were considered. One of them was proposed by the Elizabeth Fry Society and Cloverdale to convert a commercial building into housing for women involved in the criminal justice system. The proposal said people have to find accommodations to meet bail conditions.

"It is appalling that we are using the jail in Burnside as a homeless shelter," said Coun. Sam Austin. "There are people sitting in jail because there is nowhere for them to go; that is so utterly wrong."

A number of councillors were also interested in the Homes for Heroes proposal to provide 20 to 24 tiny homes for veterans.

HRM staff said they will work with all the proposals to find other funding programs.

The three that were approved will be submitted to Ottawa on Thursday.