Halifax Mutual Aid is a group of people committed to taking action against houselessness in Halifax by building small crisis shelters for those who need them.
We will build small, watertight, and insulated shelters for anyone stuck in the cold this winter.
We are a group of people who are deeply concerned that the city of Halifax and the province of Nova Scotia choose to ignore houselessness. They stand by while people are left in the cold without access to the most basic shelter. We are tired of these local governments that pretend “the housing crisis” that they created is impossible to solve. We are tired of these local governments who break their own laws and bylaws to allow luxury development that is inaccessible to the average Halifax resident. We are tired of seeing municipal and publicly-owned property being left empty and derelict or sold off to private developers instead of being retrofitted for social housing.
In response to the inadequacy, corruption, and incompetence of municipal and provincial officials to solve this crisis, we have chosen to provide some form of shelter to the houseless directly. We will build small, watertight, and insulated shelters for anyone stuck in the cold this winter. We do this because otherwise residents of Halifax will die. We do this to show that if community members in our city work together to pool our collective resources, the so-called “housing crisis” is no crisis at all.
Our building plans are open-source for anyone to use.
Download the building plans
We are aware that what we are doing is not a solution to the housing crisis in our city, nor it is a solution to homelessness. That said, we would rather build safe, secure shelters using our limited resources than leave fellow community members to die outside in the cold this winter. We do not see what we are doing as a long-term solution, but rather a short-term necessity given our circumstances.
We also would like to call out local governments who want to lecture us about what structures are and are not. They turn a blind eye to landlords throughout HRM that leave rental units without windows, doors, and locks. They ignore landlords that leave major structural issues like mold, leaks, holes in walls and ceilings, or public health issues like rodents and pests unmitigated indefinitely, while gouging and exploiting their tenants for ever-increasing rents. They let developers build unsafe and overpriced structures without penalty.
Our only demand is that all empty and vacant publicly owned property in the HRM be retrofitted to provide not-for-profit housing for any residents in need regardless of their ability to pay.
We believe that these local governments have ample resources available to solve the problem of houselessness, but they refuse to. Some examples of currently vacant public properties that could be developed into social housing are St. Pat’s Alexandra, the Bloomfield Centre, and the Old Central Library. These three empty properties alone could provide more than enough housing to all those who are currently unhoused in our city.
Housing provides safety, autonomy, and dignity for city residents, and we see the failure of the HRM and the provincial government to house all its residents as a deep injustice. We demand the most obvious and humane act from those who claim to represent us – house those in need now! We will continue building and providing shelter to those in need until they are housed permanently.
Wondering how you can help?
As volunteers, in order to build enough shelters for those who need them critically, we are in need of donations to meet material costs. Donations of any kind are deeply appreciated.
Get in touch with us
For information requests, donations of labour, money or materials please contact us below, or email us at HalifaxMutualAid@riseup.net.