Nova Scotia

Halifax emergency housing costs soar past budget

Providing emergency housing for people who are homeless in Halifax has been more costly than the city anticipated.

City officials estimate total will surpass budgeted amount by $1.2M

Modular units will be in the Centennial Pool parking lot. (@hfxgov/Twitter)

The cost of providing emergency shelter for people who are homeless in the Halifax region has increased by more than a million dollars.

Regional council had approved a budget of $3.7 million, but HRM officials now estimate the cost will be $4.9 million.

The municipality has set up four modular units to accommodate 26 people on a lot off Alderney Drive in Dartmouth.

It also plans to build nine modular units to provide shelter for 38 people on part of the parking lot of the Centennial Pool on Gottingen Street.

But construction costs have increased for a variety of reasons, according to a new report going to regional council on Tuesday.

Issues include 'unsuitable material,' security costs

In Dartmouth, part of the extra cost is due to unsuitable material under the asphalt in the parking lot.

In Halifax, a larger modular unit was needed for program and kitchen space. The cost of security on both sites is more than anticipated.

HRM officials also plan to ask the province to reimburse the municipality for $70,000 it has spent on hotel rooms for crisis housing.

There have been many delays with both sites, but the staff report said the Dartmouth location will be ready for people to move in "within days of the date of this report," which was prepared Wednesday. It was originally supposed to be ready before Christmas.

The report also said the units for the Halifax site won't be installed until late January and occupants likely won't move in until mid-March. 

The report said "exact timing for occupancy is dependent upon the province," which is responsible for placing people and providing wrap-around services onsite through the Out of the Cold shelter.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Pam Berman

Reporter

Pam Berman is CBC Nova Scotia's municipal affairs reporter. She's been a journalist for almost 35 years and has covered Halifax regional council since 1997. That includes four municipal elections, 19 budgets and countless meetings. Story ideas can be sent to pam.berman@cbc.ca

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