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Whitney Pier resident says home sale fell through after shelter village announcement

Liv Howard says a conditional sale of her home fell through after the province announced a shelter village for the neighbourhood. (Holly Conners/CBC - image credit)
Liv Howard says a conditional sale of her home fell through after the province announced a shelter village for the neighbourhood. (Holly Conners/CBC - image credit)

A woman who lives in Whitney Pier, N.S., says the potential sale of her home has fallen through because a shelter village is about to be set up in the neighbourhood.

The provincial government announced earlier this month that 30 Pallet shelters will soon be set up on a vacant lot owned by the province off Henry Street.

Liv Howard said she is already feeling the effects. She has been trying to sell her home since November, hoping to provide more space for her four young children.

"My house was conditionally sold," she said Friday.  "But yesterday we received news that the buyers have backed out due to the Pallet homes that will be across the street from us."

She said there are concerns among area residents about property values, as well as the potential for drug use, theft and violence in the shelter village.

"I know that not all people who are homeless struggle with mental health and addiction," said Howard. "But we're all aware that the majority of them do. And we do not want that in our family-oriented community."

A screen shot provide by Howard of a message she said she received telling her a potential buyer for her home has terminated the offer.
A screen shot provide by Howard of a message she said she received telling her a potential buyer for her home has terminated the offer.

A screen shot provided by Howard says a potential buyer for her home terminated the offer. (Liz Howard)

Howard has had her own experience.

"I got into addiction when I was 15 years old," she said. "And I myself have been through rehab and detox programs. I know about couch surfing and trying to find an area to stay safe."

She thinks the Pallet homes are a great idea. But she thinks the province could find a better location.

"Not in the middle of nowhere where you have a railroad and a bunch of houses of people that can't help them."

Parking lot in Sydney Mines, N.S., where 30 temporary sleeping units for people who are homeless are to be erected.
Parking lot in Sydney Mines, N.S., where 30 temporary sleeping units for people who are homeless are to be erected.

Thirty temporary sleeping units are to be erected on this site. ( Holly Conners/CBC )

Need for services nearby

She believes the shelter residents would be better served at a site located closer to resources such as a soup kitchen, food bank, clothing bank, and mental health and addiction programs.

"I know that it's impossible if you're in a situation where you're surrounded by those people and you don't have access to the programs that you need," she said.

The provincial government plans to buy 200 Pallet shelters for temporary housing.
The provincial government plans to buy 200 Pallet shelters for temporary housing.

The provincial government has purchased 200 Pallet shelters for temporary housing. (Jim Meyers/VerizonPhoto)

Plans going ahead, says spokesperson

In a statement, the Department of Community Services says it won't reconsider the site selection.

"We are moving forward with this location based on the availability of land, recommendations from service providers, as well as outreach from citizens and the business community to move as quickly as possible to provide safe and secure shelter for those who need it most," said communications adviser Christina Deveau.

The statement said fencing and round-the-clock staffing will help ensure safety. It did not address concerns about property values.

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