Halifax charity to open accessible men's shelter
Souls Harbour Rescue Mission will open the 10-bed shelter in the coming weeks
A Halifax charity is planning to open an accessible men's shelter in the coming weeks.
"Souls Harbour has been working on this nine-room, 10-bed recovery shelter for a long time now and the pandemic completely slowed it down," said Michelle Porter, the CEO of Souls Harbour Rescue Mission.
"However, we are really nearing the completion stages and we're so excited about it."
The new shelter will open on the top floor of the charity's drop-in centre on Cunard Street in Halifax.
Porter said she expects the eight single rooms and one double room — all of which are accessible — to fill up quickly.
The charity has ensured that someone will be on site at all times to help those in need and there will be ramps into the building so people can come in as needed. A lift to the top floor and accessible showers were also installed.
"A lot of people in the inner city, they're aging and the first time we put a ramp into our drop-in space, we had 72 people who all needed assistance to enter our building," she said.
"So it just opens up possibilities for those [who] are struggling."
Paul Vienneau, an accessibility advocate in Halifax, said he's not aware of any fully accessible shelters in the area, something he's asked homeless individuals about.
"I mean, there was a guy on Spring Garden Road in a wheelchair who would sleep out at night in his chair … so I know there's a need for it out there," Vienneau said.
He said he's pleased to hear that Souls Harbour has taken accessibility into consideration for its new shelter.
"Now there's spaces that everybody can use, instead of only able-bodied places where only able-bodied folks could use," he said.
"This is a place that every person in need would be able to use and to me, that's a really important message to spread."
Vienneau said he would like to see Souls Harbour install button-operated doors, but he understands the cost.
Porter said automatic doors is something Souls Harbour will look into, once more funding is available.
In the meantime, she said the charity is just putting the "finishing touches" on the shelter, like ensuring the plumbing to the accessible showers work and putting in flooring.
"I'm really feeling excited," Porter said.
"We're doing our forms and our paperwork for people who will be the first ones to stay with us … and it's really fun to look forward to our grand opening."