Morris House moves again, expected to serve young adults

Historic house will travel to a new lot this weekend

Morris House in final stages before move. Photo: Luke Orrell
Morris House in final stages before move. Photo: Luke Orrell

Morris House, Halifax’s oldest commercial building, gets ready for its move to the corner of Creighton and Charles Street this weekend.

Linda Forbes, a board member of the Heritage Trust, says the move from Hollis Street will take approximately two days, beginning this Friday.

“We were hoping to move it in December and it was pushed back,” says Forbes.  “We were still working out arrangements for the new lot.  “Originally, we thought Metro Non-Profit would immediately take possession, but they weren’t quite ready.”

Forbes says the Trust is still leasing the Creighton Street lot, but Metro will soon take ownership.

The Trust started saving the Morris House from the land fill in 2009. Nova Scotia Power Inc. provided a temporary lot until an alternate site could be found. The new lot was found on Creighton Street.

The Trust plans to donate the house to Metro once it’s at the new lot.

Morris House plans to become housing for young adults once moved to new location. Photo: Luke Orrell
Morris House plans to become housing for young adults once it’s moved to Creighton Street. Photo: Luke Orrell

The groups involved in this project include: Heritage Trust, Metro Non-Profit Housing Association, Ecology Action Centre and homeless advocates the ARK.

The objective of this project is to turn the historic house into an affordable living accommodation for nine to 10 young adults ranging between the ages of 19 to 24.

Carol Charlebois, executive director of Metro Non-Profit Housing Association, says Metro staff will hopefully work alongside Laing House or ARK staff to choose tenants. Charlebois says a lead tenant will also help play a role in choosing other residents.

Having a lead tenant help in the process of choosing other residents goes in line with one of metro’s main objectives; to offer a peer network among residents says Charlebois. This helps gives residents a greater sense of responsibility and ownership within their building.

Charlebois says the tenants will contribute to the house in some way once they are selected.

“Once construction starts, we’re hoping to have some people involved with landscaping and painting, and maybe some other stuff,” says Charlebois.

Charlebois says finding affordable housing is a big problem for young adults in Halifax.

“We can’t find everybody housing within their budget,” says Charlebois. “Everybody is paying more than they should for housing.”

Dorothy Patterson, executive director of ARK, agrees with Charlebois.

“There’s a big problem for everybody,” says Patterson. “There are hundreds of youths who are homeless around Halifax with inadequate spaces to live or don’t have anywhere at all.”

Patterson says she’s excited to see the project comes together.

Implementing affordable housing strategies in Halifax is a tough process.

Just recently, plans by a group to build affordable apartments in the north end of Halifax were rejected by the community.

Charlebois hopes people will be able to move into the house by next fall.

“We are still fundraising, we still need more funds to compete the project,” says Charlebois. “If we are successful with that, and everything goes according to plan, we hope next fall.”

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