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More HRM hotels providing shelter for the homeless

There's more evidence tonight that the homeless crisis in the Halifax-area is growing, and CTV News has confirmed more hotels have been tasked with providing temporary housing for the less fortunate while more permanent solutions are found.

"We are seeing an increase in people needing assistance from Community Services. There is no question that Nova Scotia is seeing an increase in people experiencing homelessness - whether they are in an emergency shelter, hotel, or sleeping rough," said Christina Deveau, a communications advisor with the Nova Scotia Department of Community Services.

"Temporary shelter options like hotel stays are short term options, as long-term solutions like Supportive Housing are implemented. There are currently over 550 supportive housing units across the province, including 417 that have opened since fall 2021," said Deveau.

"We estimate that the investments made in supports for people experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness have supported more than 750 people who may have otherwise been homelessness. Hundreds more are supported daily through our housing support and outreach services and shelter programming."

Tammy Jones and her 11-year-old daughter, Tommy, have settled in to a routine at a hotel in Halifax.

Originally from P.E.I., they wound-up here when a work and living arrangement Tammy had lined-up fell apart.

Hotel living is preferable to some alternatives, of course, but it's not ideal.

" I just keep reminding myself that it's temporary and I'm just very grateful that we're in this situation in a hotel and not in a tent," said Jones.

Which is a fact of life for a great many others, of course, despite initiatives to help.

Back in the Spring, the province signed a contract with the owner of a newer hotel in Dartmouth to rent nearly 200 rooms for shelter diversion and on-site health clinic services.

Prior to that, the province purchased a former hotel to provide "supportive housing" for 60 people, inviting them to sign leases and pay reasonable rent.

But it turns-out more Halifax hotels have been enlisted to help folks with nowhere else to go.

"I can't speak for the full program, but we are currently supporting individuals and families in I think a total of nine or ten hotels throughout HRM," said Sheri Lecker, executive director of Adsum House which supports women and children.

Lecker won't confirm specific locations, and neither will the province, but officials say there are 29 Income Assistance clients in hotels, and another 217 under the Shelter Diversion Supports program.

But there does seem to be consensus on one thing:

"The numbers of people, the numbers of households we're supporting in hotels has grown," said Lecker.

"It's OK here, but I wish I was back at my house," said Tommy Jones wistfully, adding she misses her friends.

A sentiment shared by a growing number of people seeking a home in a full-blown housing crisis.

For more Nova Scotia news visit our dedicated provincial page. Top Stories

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