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Community meeting to discuss homeless shelter at Halifax Forum


A community meeting has been planned to discuss the emergency homeless shelter set up at the Halifax Forum.

Some shelter residents are aware of the meeting and some are worried community backlash could shut the shelter down early and leave them without a roof over their heads.

“It's making people in here very anxious and nervous," said Robert Hyrtle. The 60-year-old has been living at the emergency shelter for the past three weeks.

Without the shelter space, Hyrtle isn't sure he'd be alive today.

"It saved my life," he said. "I came here with nothing but the clothes on my back.”

The Halifax Regional Municipality and the Province of Nova Scotia partnered together to open the shelter in January to help create more shelter space for the growing homeless population.

It originally opened with 70 beds but the shelter has since expanded to 100 beds and staff with 902 Man Up, who operate the shelter space and told CTV News it has been operating at capacity for weeks now.

The Halifax Forum Community Association is hosting the meeting, which begins Monday at 6:30 p.m. and will be held in the Maritime Hall, which is adjacent to the Halifax Forum.

Organizers of the community meeting say it will be the first chance to bring the province and the municipality together with the community members in one room to discuss the homeless shelter.

“It’s important to have an understanding, you know they’ve been at it for a few months now," said Paul Card, chair of the Halifax Forum Community Association. "It's a chance to see how’s it been going, how’s it been used, so the community better understands.”

The temporary homeless shelter is occupying the multi-purpose centre at the rear of the Halifax Forum, which Card says is usually used for recreation and cultural events.

Card says they understand extraordinary situations like this and the homeless situation call for some “extraordinary measures,” but says the association is losing out on revenue while the space is being occupied and they've hired more security to be on site.

"I understand the shelter is important and is forming an important need but so is recreation and so is community space," said Card.

The shelter at the Halifax Forum will close on Aug. 31 and in the meantime the province and the municipality are looking for a new permanent indoor shelter space to be set up by the end of the summer.

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

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