Cold weather plan urged for Halifax's homeless
Coun. Waye Mason says he plans to bring a motion to council to offer more support
A Halifax group that helps people living on the streets wants the city to adopt a cold weather plan
The Mobile Outreach Street Health program helps some of Halifax's most vulnerable people get medical care.
Rick Swaine, a registered nurse with MOSH, says he sees the impact of the cold.
"Especially if there are any vulnerable people who are outside who have circulations issues, diseases that are going to impact circulation in their feet. It leaves them a lot more vulnerable for frostbite, for skin injuries due to the cold and due to walking around a whole lot," he said.
Swaine says there are a limited number of places people end up going for warmth if they can't make it in a shelter.
"They will end up in ATMs, they will end up near anything warm, they'll try and scrape up enough together for a coffee so they can stay inside for a little bit," he said.
Toronto opens mandated warming centres when the temperatures dip to -15 C.
Swaine thinks it would help if Halifax had something similar.
"In cold weather, it would be nice to know that there would be some mandated places that people could gather for extended periods," he said.
It's a sentiment shared by Richard LeRue. He lines up for Halifax's Out of the Cold Shelter before the doors open.
"I just find it really, really cold and there's nothing really to do, you know what I mean? Other then wait until nine o'clock to get in. I think there should be more places for us to be throughout the day," he said.
Social services are run by the province, but at least one city councillor says they're out of touch when it comes to urban homelessness.
Waye Mason says he plans to bring a motion to council to see what the city can do to offer more support.