Local Defence Team Members Participate in a Day of Caring with the YWCA

Local Defence Team members took part in a United Way Halifax Day of Caring activity with YWCA Halifax on January 20. SUBMITTED

Local Defence Team Members Participate in a Day of Caring with the YWCA

By Kathryn Gatien
CFB Halifax Public Affairs

On January 20, 2024, local Defence Team members joined forces for a United Way Halifax Day of Caring activity to support YWCA Halifax’s new supported housing program for women and diverse people. 

As a long-standing partner of United Way Halifax, YWCA Halifax welcomes involvement in activities such as Days of Caring that see community volunteers get paired with charitable organizations looking for assistance. United Way Halifax routinely engages our local Defence community for support with these initiatives, pairing Defence Team volunteers with hands-on projects in the community as part of the Halifax region National Defence Workplace Charitable Campaign. Partnering for these Day of Caring opportunities helps United Way Halifax’s efforts to address poverty and housing and homelessness and build more inclusive communities across HRM. 

During the January 20 Day of Caring, local Defence Team members went to the Old Waverley Inn in downtown Halifax, a building that will soon become home to 32 women and gender diverse people. While on-site, and in coordination with YWCA Halifax staff, the volunteers removed furniture from double occupant rooms and identified items in each room to have them transformed into a single occupant room. The hope was that the team would complete the first and second floors, however through hard work they were able to complete all three floors and remove all wall fixtures and identified furniture in each hallway, front entry way and lobby

YWCA Halifax plans to operate the new supported housing facility for five years. SUBMITTED

This supported housing program is one of many programs and initiatives administered by YWCA Halifax, an organization whose mission is to build economic security, promote wellness, and create opportunities for all women, girls, Two Spirit and gender diverse people. YWCA Halifax is coming up on its 150th anniversary this year. Throughout its long existence, the organization has always been dedicated to helping women and gender diverse people as these populations are disproportionately affected by homelessness. As such, they offer important support to those who face multiple barriers which can prevent them from finding a place to live. The YWCA recognizes the importance of providing stability and support to their residents which is why there will be 24/7 support in this new supported housing facility.

Once opened, this supported housing facility will be in place for five years as the building owner, Grafton Developments, has generously offered to delay its development plans. While this means that YWCA Halifax will need to develop a more long-term plan, it doesn’t mean that support services will go away at the five-year mark. 

“People can stay in the program as long as they need and want. We will not return anyone to homelessness,” explains Danielle Hodges, YWCA Halifax’s Senior Director of Programs. “If they are unable to stay in the home, they will be moved to another program/house. Our hope is that with stability and support, the cycle can be broken.” 

As with any project of this magnitude, there have been many hands involved. The YWCA identified key groups who aided in the development of the project including the Department of Community Services who approached the YWCA about the Waverley Inn to see if it would make a good supported housing facility; Grafton Developments for donating the Waverley Inn and all items in the building, as well as delaying its development plans; and the province of Nova Scotia for being incredibly helpful throughout the process. They also highlighted the long-standing connection with United Way Halifax and the Department of National Defence for their help in finding volunteers to help with the project. 

Bravo Zulu to the local Defence Team members involved in this Day of Caring, and congratulations to YWCA Halifax and all involved in this project!