Seeking shelter from the storm

Halifax is facing an affordable housing crisis, and there’s no solution in sight.

Source: The Coast

Affordable housing is one of those terms that seems to mean less every time you use it. At least, that’s how Elaine Williams sees it. “When they say ‘affordable housing,’ that drives me crazy.”

Williams has lived in Mulgrave Park, at the northern end of the Halifax peninsula, for decades—45 years, to be exact, minus one year she spent in an apartment outside the community. (“I didn’t like it.”)

Although Williams could afford to live in another part of the municipality, she’s chosen to stay in the public housing complex at Mulgrave Park. It’s her home, after all, and her mother, her grandchildren and one of her grown sons live here, with another son on the waiting list to move in. She’s spent over a decade volunteering to help the community. She’s helped set up a food bank, build new playgrounds and put together the Caring and Learning Centre—all resources she says have proven essential, especially for those on income assistance.

“They know in between payments that their kids are always going to get something to eat.”

Between subsidized rent and the support the community offers, Williams says that residents of Mulgrave Park can just about get by. But head up the hill—or even just over the retaining wall that separates Mulgrave Park from the rest of the north end—and it’s a different story.

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