Concerns over number of care homes in area
‘Fear always comes from the unknown’
Every resident in Halifax who needs special care has the right to a home.
But determining whether the province has final say in how many care homes can go where on municipal streets is a question still clouded in uncertainty.
Discussions began after Coun. Darren Fisher of Harbourview-Burnside-Dartmouth East planned to request a report on the city’s ability to regulate or limit the amount of group homes permitted in one area on Thursday’s Harbour East- Marine Drive Community Council meeting.
The Department of Community Services has since confirmed what was in question were small options homes, which differ from group homes in size.
Small options homes have live-in staff who provide care to three to four occupants, who can be youth, but mostly adults with disabilities.
Fisher told Metro Halifax last week that constituents in one neighbourhood raised concerns around the fact that four of these homes were located within a one or two- block radius.
“Fear always comes from the unknown,” Department of Community Services Minister Joanne Bernard said of the issue Tuesday.
Bernard explained these homes are run by either non-or for-profit organizations, not by the province.
Each service provider must follow a “rigorous process” to obtain a licence, meet departmental standards and undergo inspections, she added.
“We are a caring society. We have an obligation to provide the best possible services and quite frankly, people deserve where they want to live. They have the same rights,” she said.
She instructed any residents with concerns should contact the department directly.
Although operations of these homes fall under the department’s eye, regulating the amount on a street “would have nothing to do with the province. It would be all about zoning.”
Currently, there are different zoning bylaws in place for small options homes in the Halifaxarea and Dartmouth, Bernard said.