Men's 6-unit supportive housing project to open in Sydney
A third supportive housing location in Sydney, N.S., will open soon to provide permanent housing for men experiencing chronic homelessness.
The new units on Byng Avenue, operated by the Cape Breton Community Housing Association, will have individual units for six men. The province is providing more than $320,000 in annual funding for the new location, in addition to funding supportive housing on Union and Margaret streets. Combined, the three locations will house up to 21 men.
"We know in many areas across Nova Scotia, communities are finding individuals that are having challenging times and they're finding themselves homeless and this government wants to be part of the solution, our goal is always to find permanent housing," said Community Services Minister Karla MacFarlane in an interview with CBC.
She said the units will have staff available 24/7 to help the men learn life skills.
MacFarlane said the project will also allow residents receive medical treatment, counselling, employment services and access to a trustee for financial advice.
"This is what supportive housing is, it's wrapping around the individual and ensuring that they are able to access all their needs to uplift them and make them stronger and more resilient to get back out on their own two feet and live independently, which you know everyone wants to do. It's a really exciting approach," MacFarlane said.
The Cape Breton Community Housing Association provides support and services for homeless people in Cape Breton Regional Municipality and Port Hawkesbury.
Overall, the association receives almost $2 million in annual funding from the province for its work, including providing emergency shelters, housing support workers and preventive services.
"To date, the supportive housing options we have provided have been successful and the tenants have been able to benefit from the greatest housing stability they have experienced in some time," said Fred Deveaux, the executive director of the Cape Breton Community Housing Association.
"Supportive housing is a key tool, along with other resources, to effectively end chronic homelessness," Deveaux said in a Wednesday news release.
MacFarlane said the Cape Breton Community Housing Association is working closely with people in the community and has already identified individuals to help.
"We want to ensure that everyone has a sense of belonging and a safe place and a warm place to stay. But we also know that being homeless also involves a lot of complex issues," she said.
In February, the province announced that it will fund new transitional, supportive housing to help women leaving correctional facilities in Cape Breton. MacFarlane said that although it is the first of its kind, the province is hopeful it will be successful and become a model used men's housing.
"The end goal is to ensure that they get out on their own, so we'll certainly work with all organizations and ensure that all genders have a safe place to stay," she said.
According to MacFarlane, the housing will be complete within the next couple of weeks.
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