Nova Scotia

Halifax takes next step in Homes for Heroes project

Last week, Halifax Regional Council approved plans to allow the CAO to consider developing planning policies to enable clustered tiny home developments. The councillor who introduced the idea says the move will help other affordable housing projects move forward.

Group looking for land to build tiny home compound to help veterans transition to civilian life

The Homes for Heroes tiny homes village plan for Calgary. The group is hoping to build something similar in Halifax. (Homes for Heroes Foundation/Vimeo)

A tiny homes compound for veterans needing help transitioning from active service to civilian life is a step closer to becoming a reality in Halifax.

Homes for Heroes is looking for municipal land to build its tiny homes project in Halifax. The organization's goal is to find a solution to homelessness among Canada's veterans.

"I think what's moved forward is that Halifax council has noted that they're interested in our project and interested in the concept of tiny homes and to move it to the next step," said David Howard, CEO and co-founder of the Homes for Heroes Foundation.

On Tuesday, Halifax regional council unanimously directed the municipality's CAO to develop planning policies to enable clustered tiny home developments, making changes to an administrative order to establish a specific category for affordable housing and look at leveraging surplus municipal land for affordable housing.

Homes for Heroes has yet to secure the land it needs for its project, but Howard is optimistic. 

"We have come in and said, 'Look, we'll cover costs in terms of developing and running the program but we want the province and the city to get involved in regards to getting land.' So right now my understanding is that they're looking to identify what surplus lands they have," he said.

Other affordable housing projects to benefit

VETS Canada, a Nova Scotia-based national organization that's been helping veterans get off the streets for 10 years, said there aren't many homeless veterans in Halifax and questioned the need for this particular project.

Howard said one homeless veteran is one too many.

Coun. Stephen Adams, who represents Spryfield-Sambro-Prospect Road, said other affordable housing projects will benefit from these directives.

"It would give a lot broader ability for us to accommodate these requests, not only for the Homes for Heroes but this is going to help a lot with all other individuals in our communities who need somewhere to live at a very low cost," said Adams.

Adams said it's becoming increasingly difficult for many people in Halifax to find affordable housing. A report last year stated the rental vacancy rate in the city dropped to 1.6 per cent. And despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Halifax is also experiencing a real estate boom.

"There's a housing shortage, there's a shortage of accommodations for people whether it be single-family homes, semi-detached, apartments, you name it — there's not enough," Adams said.

"Our homeless need help, we need to be able to bring better housing stock and a lot more of it and this is a great step. I mean, combine this with the backyard suites ... this is a great combination moving along."

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Anjuli Patil

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Anjuli Patil is a reporter and occasional video journalist with CBC Nova Scotia's digital team.

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