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Souls Harbour Rescue Mission overwhelmed by support following fire

However, CEO Michelle Porter says it's currently costing $5,000 a week to temporarily lodge seven people
051322 - souls harbour fire
The Souls Harbour Rescue Mission building on Cunard Street was extensively damaged by fire earlier this week

The head of Souls Harbour Rescue Mission says community support in the wake of a damaging fire has been overwhelming. 

Firefighters and other emergency crews were called to the Cunard Street shelter Wednesday night.

Souls Harbour CEO, Michelle Porter says no one was hurt, but the building -- which serves as a men's shelter and drop-in centre -- isn't usable at this time.

"[The damage] is quite extensive on the exterior of the building to the point where we probably can't house our program guys in here for several weeks, which is an issue because they're in the middle of a recovery program," she told CityNews Halifax.

Insurance should help with the rebuilding costs, but they need immediate financial help to cover off the temporary lodging Porter has been able to arrange for seven people.

"It's $5,000 a week to house these guys in an Airbnb," she said. "I put it on my credit card."

"But at least for now, we've got a place and they can continue their programming, their AA meetings and that sort of thing."

In addition, the drop-in centre serves over 100 meals a day, but without access to the kitchen, it has had to resort to sack lunches.

Porter said the community stepped up yesterday to help out.

"People were lined up down the block at one point yesterday, including Uber Eats and Skip The Dishes. People were just ordering and dropping off lunches," she explained. 

"Pizzas were arriving with plates and forks, so we were able to give everyone a piece of pizza and a full lunch, which was great, and we were able to share our leftovers with other shelters in the city."

However, Porter said she's still waiting to hear when they'll be allowed back in the kitchen.

"If we'll have to do sack lunches for three days, for five days or what," she said.

"The issue is, when they run kind of like an ozone machine, we can't be in our building at all for two days straight, so everything will have to be prepared and kept off site."

If you'd like to help out, donations can be made online.


Meghan Groff

About the Author: Meghan Groff

Born in Michigan, raised in Ontario, schooled in Indiana and lives in Nova Scotia; Meghan is the editor for CityNews Halifax.
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