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Making a connection with Halifax's homeless

Meghan Laing noticed a marked difference yesterday in the people walking into Halifax Connects and people walking out.

Meghan Laing noticed a marked difference yesterday in the people walking into Halifax Connects and people walking out.

“Just the body language of some of these people coming in ... and coming out, shoulders high, smiles on their face,” said Laing, one of the organizers of the all-day event providing services for Halifax’s homeless and low-income populations.

Participants at Halifax Connects, held at the Armoury, were offered basic services like haircuts, clothing, health and wellness counselling and a hot lunch.

Laing said the foot care, wound treatment, and haircut stations were far and away the most attended.

Participants were also given the opportunity to learn about education and employment programs.

More than 500 people took part — more than Laing had hoped for the event, which was advertised exclusively by word of mouth. It brought together volunteers and service providers usually spread all over the municipality.

Bill Pratt, executive director of the Saint Leonard’s Society of Nova Scotia, said gathering everyone under one roof was a benefit to service providers as well.

Pratt said while it’s always difficult to gauge numbers at a given point, he was confident about a third of HRM’s homeless population benefited from yesterday’s event.

 
 
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