The 73 units of modular housing announced for people living in parks this week will each have their own washroom and shower, but the timeline on their installation is still unclear.
Mayor Mike Savage and Assistant Chief of Emergency Management Erica Fleck, who’s been assigned to lead HRM’s response to homelessness for three months, announced the stop-gap measure on Wednesday. The plan is to temporarily house 73 people in two sites, one on either side of the harbour, until more permanent housing is secured.
Fleck described the modular units as “trailer-like structures.”
“There are some bunk houses that house eight to 10 people. There are also modular units that would have a kitchen area, one with bathrooms and showers,” she said.
Those comments created some confusion and concern that the municipality was setting up trailers containing one big room with bunk beds.
On Friday, Coun. Waye Mason tweeted floor plans, writing “Folks have asked about the configuration of the modular units HRM is purchasing to create safe and appropriate spaces for the houseless. The units look like this, each bedroom is a single w. a desk, bathroom w. shower. Shared laundry and kitchen in each setup.”
“These can be stacked, and I expect the initial set up will be two setups, one in Dartmouth one on the peninsula,” Mason wrote in a follow-up tweet.
According to HRM spokesperson Brynn Budden, three of the units are accessible. They’re supplied by Kent Building Supplies, and are already built. They cost $10,000 per module, Budden said, and there are 24 modules, for a total of $240,000.
Asked how much of that cost will be covered by the provincial government, Budden wrote, “Discussions between the municipality and province are still underway.”
The exact locations and opening date for the units is still unknown.
“The municipality is currently in discussions with the province to establish the two emergency accommodations sites in the very near future,” Budden wrote.
“One site will be located in Dartmouth, and another in Halifax. Specific locations are to be determined in consultation with the professional service providers and the province.”
While the new units are being set up, the municipality plans to keep using Gray Arena in North Dartmouth as a shelter. The plan is to use that space until the end of October, at the latest.