Homeless shelter overwhelmed by community response after fire closes building in Halifax

A shelter in downtown Halifax for homeless people was evacuated after a fire Wednesday night.

Michelle Porter, CEO of Souls Harbor Rescue Mission, told CBC Radio noon at sea that all shelter guests are safe and have been transported to the Château Bedford Hotel and Suites.

The damaged building at 5568 Cunard St., which opened in 2022, houses a reception center and a nine-bed shelter that works with men dealing with addictions, mental health issues or other issues that keep them from living on their own, he said. Porter.

Porter said she was grateful to Château Bedford for having its residents, but the hotel will be full on Saturday and she had no idea where they were going.

According to Porter, it appeared the fire started in a side yard and burned through the building, damaging the back stairs, which are the building’s emergency exit.

“Until this can be fixed, we won’t be able to house people here,” Porter said. “We also can’t have people in the building right now.”

Porter said there was a lot of water damage in the furnace room, which contains a new furnace.

On Wednesday night, Porter appealed on Facebook for people to help provide 150 packed lunches for the fulfillment center, which serves more than 100 meals a day. She said the community response was overwhelming.

“We now have all the lunches provided and talked through until Saturday,” she said. “We’ll be having street lunches for the rest of the week and we’ll know more this afternoon once the remediation team comes back to tell us when we can get back in.”

Porter said the organization’s top priority is getting the kitchen and dining room back up and running so they can continue to serve those in need.

A fire fund for the shelter was created on the Souls Harbor Rescue Mission website.

“It’s really cool to see the community coming together – it’s absolutely humbling and wonderful to watch,” Porter said.


Leave a Comment