Adsum for Women and Children says some Halifax-area hotels are no longer working with the non-profit to accommodate their unhoused clients.
“It’s getting to the point now where, we’re reaching out to hotels, and when they learn that it’s Adsum or it’s a shelter diversion team, and there’s that stigma of people that are living in poverty or that are on income assistance, we’re not receiving services,” says Sarah Carrier, Adsum’s executive assistant. “It’s becoming a huge crisis.”
“We are finding now with the summer upon us, these long-term stays that we have been entertaining with hotels, they’re not able to accommodate anymore. So, really it’s been within the last month that we’ve been really feeling the most pressure to move people on.”
Adsum has approximately 60 hotel rooms across the city, which often accommodate between 100-200 people, Carrier says, including some families and couples.
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“We’re running out of options as to where people can go,” she says. “Our purpose is to make sure nobody’s sleeping outside. And sometimes there are no other options. We see people sleeping in cars with their children. We see seniors sleeping on the side of the road. It’s just it’s unacceptable.”
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The provincial government spent approximately $1.5-million in 2021 on hotel stays province-wide for vulnerable people.
“Over the last two years, the use of hotels has enabled Nova Scotians experiencing homelessness to have shelter, and have aided our service providers in providing space for individuals to social distance and isolate due to COVID,” says Christina Deveau, a spokesperson with the Department of Community Services. “We recognize that hotels are not long-term housing solutions. Hotel placements are temporary and are used to ensure that vulnerable people and families are safely housed when there is no other appropriate option.”
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Deveau says if someone needs alternative options, the provincial government and service providers will work to find another solution.
“I think the solution is affordable housing,” Carrier says. “How that comes about, whether that’s the province or the federal government, it’s got to be a priority because everything stems back to being safely housed: health, mental health, you know, all of those things.”
Adsum didn’t want to reveal which hotels it worked with to help protect the identity of those that are still accommodating their clients.
Global News reached out to the Hotel Association of Nova Scotia on Sunday but did not hear back.
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