THOS evolved from the Out of the Cold program, which saw community partnerships between several local churches and numerous dedicated volunteers who came together to provided overnight emergency shelter during the coldest months of the year. In 2010, the Out of the Cold Shelter began rotating between several Truro churches including First United, Immanuel Baptist, and St. Andrew’s United. This rotational arrangement took place for four years, November to March, until the First United Church was able to host the program on a permanent basis.
Read news coverage from the CBC:
December 2009 - Truro to open 1st homeless shelter
In the winter of 2014, a small daytime drop-in centre opened to provide Out of the Cold Shelter guests with a warm place to spend the day when required. Many Out of the Cold volunteers and Coordination Committee members realized that in order to expand the services offered to guests, a permanent shelter location was needed. In January of 2014, a new committee formed and created the Truro Homeless Outreach Society.
The Truro Homeless Outreach Society began to plan for the development of a year-round emergency shelter. Together with some funding from The United Way of Colchester and community fundraising efforts like the Coldest Night of the Year Walk-a-thon, enough money was raised to purchase and renovate a property at 862 Prince St. This 16 bed shelter, known as Hub House, opened its doors in November of 2017.
Hub House has evolved rapidly as the realities of maintaining a building, recruiting quality volunteers, and meeting community commitments have revealed themselves. In August of 2018, unable to find volunteers for the overnight shift, Hub House was forced to close its doors for the first time since opening. This prompted the THOS board of directors to create paid overnight positions to alleviate the demand on volunteers and offer compensation to those willing to work back shift. These positions have been successful, as Hub House has not had to close its doors since their inception.
Read news coverage from the CBC:
May 2018 - Emergency shelter in downtown Truro sparks debate about homelessness
With the help of grants from the United Way of Colchester and some initial government support, two part-time, paid staff positions were created. The position of Volunteer Coordinator, responsible for recruitment, training, and scheduling; and the position of Navigator, responsible for aiding Hub House guests with navigating community services and finding secure housing. In the spring of 2019, these positions were combined to create a full-time Navigator-Coordinator position (now the Operations Manager).
In 2020, two more full time positions were added; the Volunteer Recruitment Officer (now the Transition Coordinator), funded by the United Way of Colchester County and a Housing Support Worker, funded by the Province of Nova Scotia. These two positions allowed THOS to expand and diversify the services it offers.
Despite numerous challenges, THOS continues to grow and in the Spring of 2021 was able to hire its first Executive Director.
2022 brought on our Programming Coordinator through the funding of The Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia who has been able to provide our clients with stress management, positive self-talk, anxiety management, core values, vision boards, self-help community resource toolbox, animal therapy, journaling and so much more.
The future brings a big move for THOS. Our Executive Director, Krista McNair spoke with The Halifax Examiner about our new 24-hour shelter opening this summer.
Read Halifax Examiner here:
24-hour shelter opening in Truro this summer
As of Fall 2022, after countless pandemic related setbacks, the day our extraordinary team of volunteers, staff, contractors and government allies have been striving towards for nearly two full years has finally arrived! Truro’s emergency shelter has moved to our beautiful new location at 29 Arthur St.
The new name for our building, Haven House, is symbolic of an atmosphere where guests thrive, not just survive. A place of safety, hope and refuge, an inlet providing shelter that inspires healing from trauma, and seeking opportunities to rebuild or strengthen connections with family, culture and community.
We were able to design a fully accessible, energy efficient, trauma informed space where we can now accommodate 20-25 individuals.
With the guidance of industry best practices and Housing First and Harm Reduction approaches, our guests now have an optimal space to focus on actioning their individualized housing plans with 24 hour support from our Client Support Team, Housing Support Workers, Transition and Programming Coordinators.
We are grateful for the continued love, support and encouragement from our community as well as our Municipal, Provincial and Federal Government. Our team will continue to transform obstacles into opportunities as we strive to achieve our mission with a clear vision and intentional adherence to our core values in our strategic planning and stakeholder engagement.
We are excited for what the future holds and can't wait to share it with you!