The Halifax Regional Municipality is considering selling a women's shelter the property it has lived in for decades for just $1, but the charity still needs to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Adsum House on Brunswick Street provides housing and support for homeless women and children.
The shelter has been leasing from the city for 30 years, paying $1 each year.
But in the past decade, the charity has put more than $400,000 into the property for upgrades and renovations
"We've done a lot of work, we've put on an addition to the property. If we don't own it, that's money we're putting in to improve a property that we don't even own and we can't insure. So it's also to protect our investment," said the shelter’s executive director Sheri Lecker.
"Because we don't own the property, we can't insure it against loss. So if there would be a fire and this house would burns down we wouldn't be able to collect insurance, we wouldn't then have the resources to rebuild. And for all the women and children and youth who stay here we wouldn't have a space."
The property is owned by both HRM and the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation. According to an HRM report, the city can sell the property for less than the market value, but CMHC can’t do that.
The report said Adsum is required to come up with half of the assessed value to pay CMHC.
Lecker said she hopes the cost could be covered by a grant
The report then reveals a significant discrepancy in the value of the property. The first appraisal set the value at $379,000.
A section appraisal more than doubled that amount to $860,000. The city report said that was because the first value was of the current use of the property – as a special care home.
The second appraisal considered how much it would be worth if Adsum House was converted into a residential home.
The report said a federal program – the Surplus Federal Real Property Homelessness Initiative – will help foot the bill to pay for CMHC’s portion of the property.
The sale still must be approved by council, which is considering the proposal Tuesday.
The city must then hold public hearings on the plan.