Power outage at Halifax homeless camp

City Hall today enforced its eviction notice at Halifax’s Grand Parade encampment by turning off power to tents still on site, but even on one of the coldest days of the year, people living there are They refuse to leave.

At nine in the morning, city crews and camp volunteers disconnected the only power source providing heat to all the tents, plunging the tent dwellers into the bitter cold.

Kevin McGuire is one of 12 people still living on the property. For him, the store was a safe, warm and quite comfortable space.

“I feel very cold. This morning it was 25 degrees below zero. They took my power off, which was my only source of heat,” McGuire said. “This will only make me sicker and I would be lucky if I could survive.

McGuire said he wants his privacy and the shelters don’t offer it.

However, there are other designated campgrounds that the city suggests people can go to.

“Some people have told me that they will not enter the house and I respect everyone’s opinion. If they want power, the Barrington Greenway, which is a designated location, has power available and so people could move there as well,” said Max Chauvin, director of housing and homelessness for the Halifax Regional Municipality.

Even though the power is out, some people are returning to Grand Parade, like Rick Young.

For the past month, Young has been staying at an Airbnb, but that came to an end today.

“Now I have no home. Let’s go back to square one,” she said.

Young said he is disappointed with the city’s decision to turn off power now, in the winter.

“By doing this, they are simply making people uncomfortable and forcing them to go to shelters. “They are forced evictions.”

Young, McGuire and others who live there refuse to leave.

“I’m going to fight for what I have, regardless of what the city wants to do. This is where I stay. “This is my home,” McGuire said.

Meanwhile, some community volunteers handed out propane heaters today.

Other volunteers, who have been living at the camp for the past few months, said that while they understand it is public property, they believe the shelters are not for everyone.

“Safety is an issue at the shelter. I talked to one person today and they are afraid to go to a shelter because that triggers them in terms of drugs and alcohol,” Stephen Wilsack said.

Chauvin said there are multiple indoor and outdoor shelter options available for people to go to.

“Being outdoors is not good for many reasons. The province has provided a wide variety of options for people. We have to remember that shelters with platforms and also small houses are coming.”

He said the city’s approach has been to talk to people living in tents in non-designated areas about options. He said the city has stored some of people’s belongings and has managed to convince some to come inside. .

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