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N.S. announces new street outreach teams in Truro, Cape Breton

A woman struggles to keep her tent upright at the encampment in Victoria Park in Halifax. (Source: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Kelly Clark) A woman struggles to keep her tent upright at the encampment in Victoria Park in Halifax. (Source: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Kelly Clark)
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People experiencing homelessness in Truro and the Cape Breton Regional Municipality now have additional resources.

On Thursday, the province announced new street outreach teams that will help connect people to services and create individualized plans to transition to short and long-term housing.

“People need to know what supports and services are available and how to access them,” said Brendan Maguire, minister of Community Services, in a news release. “Street outreach workers are out there building relationships with people who are sleeping rough to find out what they need and how we can help remove the barriers between them and a safe, warm place to sleep.”

Five full-time staff members began work in the CBRM earlier this month. The province says the team is lead by the Cape Breton Community Housing Association, which covers communities throughout the municipality.

“Thanks to this funding from the Department of Community Services, the Cape Breton Community Housing Association is able to extend its suite of services to CBRM’s most vulnerable homeless citizens and especially to those who are living rough,” says Fred Deveaux, Cape Breton Community Housing Association executive director. “The goal of the street outreach team is to help keep people safe and to encourage individuals to work with the team to end their homelessness and find safe, affordable housing.”

Meanwhile in Truro, a five-person team was up and running on Wednesday. The team is led by the Truro Housing Outreach Society and also supports surrounding communities in Colchester County and East Hants.

“Housing-focused street outreach is harm reduction, and the new outreach team will allow us to meet individuals where they are in the community,” adds Davy Rose, Truro Housing Outreach Society Outreach co-ordinator. “We look forward to bridging gaps in service provision, which will increase capacity building for organizations and agencies, and allow us to all work together to support our unhoused and precariously housed community members. There is a lot of work to be done, and we’re excited to start.”

In addition, the province says Halifax’s street outreach team, which is run by Shelter Nova Scotia, has grown to six full-time staff members since additional funding was announced late last year.

“Shelter Nova Scotia’s outreach team represents a significant step forward in our efforts to support individuals experiencing homelessness in our community,” says Linda Wilson, Shelter Nova Scotia executive director. “Through targeted outreach and collaboration with key stakeholders, we aim to provide critical resources and support to those in need – ultimately helping them transition to stable housing.”

For more Nova Scotia news visit our dedicated provincial page.

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