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Organization and local mosque provide home and services for minorities in Halifax


The first of its kind in Atlantic Canada, a transitional house in Halifax is giving a long-term home to minorities seeking shelter and support.

In partnership with Ummah Society, Nisa Homes is offering immigrant, refugee, non-status or Muslim women fleeing domestic violence, homelessness or seeking refuge.

“We give them a place to stay and help them get back on their feet,” said Yasmine Youssef, program director of Nisa Homes.

“Nisa” means women in Arabic, and this shelter can accommodate 12 women and children. Youssef said with the influx of people into Canada services like this are essential.

“We’re seeing a big immigrant population and we’re also seeing a rise in hate crimes and Islamophobia. We know that it impacts the most vulnerable more than anyone else,” she said.

Conversations about having a shelter like this in the community began in 2018.

Abdallah Yousri, the Imaam at Ummah Masjid, a mosque in Halifax, first called for Nisa Home after recognizing a need for the service after hearing from women in the community.

“We were approached to intervene, while we do not have the capacity, the staff, or the expertise to address these issues and this is really what triggered us reaching out to Nisa,” said Yousri.

The women at the shelter will have access to help within an environment that supports their cultural and religious needs.

Over the years, mainstream shelters did not cater to the needs of Muslim women who wear the hijab or eat halal. The shelter will also cater to youths that have lost their parents. Its services will provide them with an environment they are familiar with.

“There’s a need for children to be placed in homes that understand them,” said Hanaa Rashid, director of social services for the Atlantic Muslim Resource Centre.

“We’ve what’s happened with the Indigenous children and with folks from the black community, when their children are not placed in appropriate spaces. You know, That turns out to be more challenging.”

While the doors have just opened, the organization is already providing some of their services to clients in the Maritimes.

Ummah Masjid will also be hosting workshops to educate the wider community about cultural stigmas that exist when it comes to abuse and mental health. Top Stories

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