Media release Poverty

PSA: Halifax Mutual Aid – Housing crisis shelters mission statement

Our Purpose:

We are a group of people who are deeply concerned that the city of Halifax and the province of Nova Scotia choose to ignore houselessness, and stand by while people are left in the cold without access to even the most basic shelter. We are tired of these local governments that pretend “the housing crisis” that they created is impossible to solve. We are tired of these local governments who break their own laws and bylaws to allow luxury development that is inaccessible to the average Halifax resident. We are tired of seeing municipal and publicly-owned property being empty and derelict or sold off to private developers instead of being retrofitted for social housing. 

In response to the inadequacy, corruption, and incompetence of municipal and provincial officials to solve this crisis, we have chosen to provide some form of shelter to the houseless directly. We will build small, watertight, and insulated shelters for anyone stuck in the cold this winter. We do this because otherwise residents of Halifax will die. We do this to show that if community members in our city work together to pool our collective resources, the so-called “housing crisis” is no crisis at all.  

Limitations

We are aware that what we are doing is not a solution to the housing crisis in our city nor it is a solution to homelessness, that said we would rather build safe, secure shelters using our limited resources than leave fellow community members to die outside in the cold this winter. We do not see what we are doing as a long-term solution, but rather a short-term necessity given our circumstances.

We also would like to call out local governments who want to lecture us about what structures are and are not. They turn a blind eye to landlords throughout HRM that leave rental units without windows, doors, and locks. They ignore landlords that leave major structural issues like mold, leaks, holes in walls and ceilings, or public health issues like rodents and pests unmitigated indefinitely, while gouging and exploiting their tenants for ever-increasing rents. They let developers build unsafe and overpriced structures without penalty. 

Our demand

We believe that these local governments have ample resources available to solve the problem of houselessness, but they refuse to. Therefore, our only demand is that all empty and vacant publicly owned property in HRM be retrofitted to provide not-for-profit housing for any residents in need regardless of their ability to pay. Some examples of currently vacant public properties that could be developed into social housing are St. Pat’s Alexandra, the Bloomfield Centre, and the Old Central Library. These three empty properties alone could provide more than enough housing to all those who are currently unhoused in our city.

Housing provides safety, autonomy, and dignity for city residents. We see the failure of the HRM and provincial to house all its residents as a deep injustice. We demand the most obvious and humane act from those who claim to represent us. House those in need now. We will continue building and providing shelter to those in need until they are housed permanently.

Any volunteer, information, or donation requests should be sent to HalifaxMutualAid@riseup.net

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8 Comments

  1. Thank you for being involved in a cause that has displaced so many people. Strength in numbers. HRM has received monies from the Federal government for Rapid Housing relief. Also monies for the shelters. Hopefully the money will be utilized for that. Thank you for your humanity

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  2. I know this is not a permanent solution but I am delighted to hear about this initiative and I thank God for you.

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  3. FINALLY someone is stepping up to provide a safe place for those that none!
    Two years ago,I inadverently rented from a person that turned out to be the WORST kind of slumlord;they didn’t even have the legal right to rent the place/collect rent.Rats the size of a Shih Tzu dog,windows literally falling off their frames,exterior doors off their frames/wouldn’t lock,no heat…27 violations of the HRM Safe Building Standards Bylaw;I was medically evacuated from the premises(oil spill-unlivable premises) and when months later it was “cleared” for habitation,the slumlords had moved someone into MY apartment(I was STILL PAYING RENT!) with ALL my stuff still there,the guy was using my possessions!Meanwhile,I ended up in the January cold with my service dogs and NOWHERE to go.I am disabled so my options were slim to nonexistant for getting around.
    Social services worker Gysai Symonds,”Fuck you,have a nice weekend” was his response to being informed I was effectively now homeless.There is a government program in place to put a homeless person up in a hotel room until a shelter bed becomes available;Social Services refused to do this and literally left me,a disabled person out in the cold in the dead of winter.
    Those with the power to fix the homelessness problem don’t care enough to do anything about it,and there doesn’t seem to be ANY way to make them do their jobs.WE pay their salaries,yet they stomp all over us.
    I am estatic to see that someone is finally taking measures to provide a safe alternative to freezing to death/being raped/assaulted(long list…too long for here…). Shelter is a basic human need,a right that all have but is being denied by uncaring persons of authority.
    Bring on the huts! Better than the potentially deadly alternatives!

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  4. How often does my heart hurt deeply when I see someone on the street in freezing cold temperatures, or anytime for that matter. I know I’m not the only one, you feel it too don’t you. Let’s take this opportunity to support these folks. Let’s hope the folks we have put in positions of power here in N.S. are listening to our wishes. It’s totally inhuman to know/see this and do nothing. It could be your beautiful son or daughter, life is funny like that, it can change in a moment.
    How can we help? How can we donate?

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