Society receives 1 million in supportive housing for men exiting correctional facilities

Photo of a logo that says John Howard Society of Nova Scotia in blue letters. The background is white.
The John Howard Society of Nova Scotia is receiving a $1.1- million loan from the province. Photo from John Howard Society website.
Sara Gouda - CKDU - HalifaxNS | 08-09-2022
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The province of Nova Scotia has provided a low-interest $1.1- million mortgage to the John Howard Society of Nova Scotia to help the society purchase and renovate a multi-unit home for eight residents.

“A house is more than a place to call home,” said Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister John Lohr. “Access to safe, supportive housing can open doors to new opportunities for the men who live there. It can provide options and help break the cycles of poverty and ongoing conflict with the justice system.”

The Department of Community Services is providing the society with $828,000 in annual funding for ongoing operations, on-site support and services, including 24-hour staffing, a housing support worker to help residents find permanent housing and other services that may be needed such as mental health or employment support.

Portrait of a woman smiling, her hair is in a messy bun.

Leisha Seymour is the executive director of the John Howard Society. Photo contributed.

"We know that the vacancy rate in Nova Scotia for rentals is incredibly low and that the price per unit has gone up dramatically. We know that the support people need beyond housing also exists. With [the funds] we'll be able to provide transitional housing with 24/7 support and wraparound services for male-identifying folk to be able to get back on their feet, find employment, and be able to contribute to their families."

-  Leisha Seymour, Executive Director of the John Howard Society

John Howard Society's Executive Director Leisha Seymour said their mission is effective, just and humane responses to the causes and consequences of crime.

"We are looking at transitional supportive housing in the Halifax area for male-identifying folk who are involved in the criminal justice system or who are at risk of involvement," said Seymour.

Some initiatives the society offers are in-reach programs for incarcerated people to help them cope with their reality and plan for their release when it comes up.

Their connections to community integrations program help criminalized and at-risk individuals build a resume and explore career options, practice for interviews, learn goal setting, communication, and budgeting, and develop valuable skills in fields like construction.

Finally, in several provincial regions, the society provides residential support, wraparound services, and supervision for individuals at risk of incarceration.

Listen to the full interview below: