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New shelter allows homeless to get Out of the Cold – Metro US

New shelter allows homeless to get Out of the Cold

After a month-long setback, a homeless shelter opened this week in Fort Massey United Church on Tobin Street in Halifax.

Carol Charlebois, executive director of Metro Non-Profit Housing Association, says it was a quiet evening when it opened Tuesday night, but she knows the demand is there.

“It’s for people who, for a variety of reasons, are not able to access the other shelters,” she said.

Charlebois and other members of Out of the Cold Shelter Organizing Committee —the committee that put this shelter together with MNPHA — know people sleeping on the streets for reasons of addictions, mental health problems or because they have pets that aren’t welcome at existing shelters.

But it wasn’t easy.

The committee started meeting in November, and were set to open the 15-bed shelter last month at First Congregational Church on Seldon Street, with 74 volunteers willing to work.

They were stopped when the city called and said it was a residential zone and shelters weren’t allowed.

Northwest Arm-South End councillor Sue Uteck said she wasn’t against the shelter — Seldon Street simply wasn’t an appropriate area and the committee went about the process “all wrong.”

“It’s always best to work with the area councillor because he or she is the one that’s going to field the calls from neighbours,” Uteck said, adding that she found out about the shelter from a neighbour.

The shelter’s open 9 p.m. to 7 a.m., and will close at the end of April.

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