Halifax non-profit building to offer affordable housing for homeless people over 50

A Halifax non-profit is constructing 38 affordable housing units for people aged 50 and older who are experiencing homelessness. The Halifax Particular Council of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul is leading the construction of Ozanam Place on Brunswick Street. The $15-million non-profit housing project is being funded through the municipal, provincial and federal governments.

The North End Community Health Centre will manage and operate the building. It is expected to open in March 2025. “Seniors deserve a quality of life and to live with dignity rather than living in a tent,” said Ray Burke, president of the Halifax Particular Council, which owns the land where the units are being constructed.

Burke said rent will be calculated based on 30 per cent of the tenant’s income. A report from the Canadian Medical Association Journal said there is an increasing percentage of people over 50 in shelters. The report released in May said late-life homelessness can contribute to an earlier onset of age-related illnesses such as dementia, as well as earlier falls and frailty.

“Just the experience of homelessness can also make it much harder to then navigate these health-care needs,” said Dr. Jill Alston, a Toronto geriatrician and one of the report’s authors. “We see older adults are at a higher risk of victimization and are very vulnerable in shelter systems, and they’re also at a higher risk of falls.” She said moving into appropriate housing can help those who have lived precariously have better health outcomes.

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