How we address housing and homelessness
Homelessness and a lack of affordable housing is a significant issue of concern in Halifax, as it is in many communities across Canada. And its becoming increasingly visible. In the last two years, we’ve seen the creation of crisis shelters, an increase in tents and encampments, and more people being temporarily housed in hotels. As of August 16, 2022, 667 people in Halifax were experiencing homelessness. The number has been steadily rising.
United Way Halifax plays a unique and significant role in addressing housing and homelessness in HRM. We are a convener, partner, funder, and advocate. We’re committed to working in partnership with service providers, advocates, and governments, and offering support however we can.
Keep reading for some examples of what that looks like.
Advocacy for Marginalized Voices
United Way Halifax believes that everyone should have the right to safe, affordable, adequate housing that meets their needs. And, we believe everyone has a role to play in making that a reality. Right now, the housing continuum is under a lot of stress and is not meeting the needs of our community.
Housing is a key component of the social determinants of health. A lack of secure housing leads to increased health needs, increased demands on our healthcare system and shorter lifespans. We recognize that homelessness is also inequitable. It disproportionately impacts Black and Indigenous Nova Scotians, as well as 2SLGBTQIA+. We advocate for those who are unhoused by amplifying first-voices, and sharing stories, experiences and relevant data.
We don’t do anything alone. We partner with businesses, nonprofits, government and individuals to create solutions, like our Community Land Trust project and tiny homes as an affordable housing solution. United Way Halifax also plays the role of convener to help bridge connections between our colleagues in the social sector, individuals with lived experience, and government.
Funding Supports and Solutions
All of the Community Fund programs United Way Halifax funds are focused on alleviating poverty, and nearly half of the programs are also focused on meeting the immediate need of finding or maintaining safe, secure housing as part of their mandate.
Every single organization has program participants who have been impacted by the housing crisis.
We’re always considering new ways to fund and fundraise for innovative housing solutions. Currently, we’re exploring a short-term housing solution that could drastically improve lives for people sleeping outdoors: micro shelters. These shelters are smaller than a tiny home and are built to code by local company Well Engineered. They offer a weather-proof, safe, secure shelter and wrap-around supports can be provided by a community partner.
We can use your help
As you can see, we’re an active participant in the creation of short, medium, and long-term housing solutions. Whether you’re a donor, volunteer, or community advocate, you can help, too. To join us, send us an email, sign up for our Need to Know newsletter, make a donation or attend one of our events to learn more.