COMMUNITY SERVICES–Homeless To Be Accommodated In ExistingShelters Anyone seeking shelter in Halifax will find it thanks to anenhanced partnership between Community Services, the Departmentof Health and shelter operators. The announcement was made today, May 2, as plans were beingfinalized to move people still staying at a temporary wintershelter that opened in December and was scheduled to close onApril 30. Pendleton Place was established to replace a discontinued programat Brunswick Street United Church, following a meeting betweenthe province, municipality and community representatives lastfall. It was funded by the Department of Community Services andoperated by the Saint Leonard’s Society of Nova Scotia. “We are very pleased to have worked with the Saint Leonard’sSociety to provide an important service for some of the homelessthis winter,” said Community Services Minister David Morse. “Thestaff of Pendleton Place have done a remarkable job and we arevery thankful to them.” “We care about these individuals and want to make sure they havea place to go,” said Jerry Smyth, executive director with thesociety. “We’ve been working with Community Services and othershelter operators to ensure the proper supports are in place forthem.” Although Pendleton Place was operating near full capacity duringthe winter, other shelters experienced a decline in use and, insome cases, significant numbers of vacancies. As a result,Community Services met regularly with shelter operators todetermine whether the needs of the homeless could be met withinthe existing shelter system. “It was felt there was sufficient capacity for the homelesswithin the existing system,” said Mr. Morse. “By working togetherto make the best possible use of existing resources and providingenhanced supports for those with mental health and substanceabuse issues, the system can now accommodate anyone seekingshelter.” The enhanced supports include adding staff to one of the existingshelters and expanding the Capital District Health Authority’sShared Care Team and Mobile Crisis Team so that there arededicated members for the emergency shelters. Major Wayne Loveless, executive director of The Salvation Army,which provides shelter to homeless men, said: “We believe ahigher level of co-operation among shelter operators, along withgovernment support, will allow us to serve those who were stayingat the temporary shelter as well as other homeless individuals.” Sheri Lecker, executive director of Adsum House, agrees. “Thewomen’s shelters are committed to doing our best to accommodatethe women and female youth coming from Pendleton Place. We havealso improved communications and are using our establishedreferral process to ensure there is a bed available for any womanor female youth looking for a place to stay.” Tim Crooks, executive director of Phoenix Youth Programs, whoworks with homeless youth ages 16 to 24, adds: “We arecollaborating with Community Services, Halifax RegionalMunicipality and other service providers to provide bettersupport for vulnerable youth. We are committed to ensuring thatyouth have not only a place to stay, but also access to importantprograms and support services.” Major Loveless said that even with all of the supports in place,there will be people who spend the night on the street. “Unfortunately, some people are resistant to any kind ofservice,” he said. “We can do our best to make sure the shelterand supports are available, however we cannot control whethersomeone uses them.”
He was answering queries on how China planned to allay Indian fears over increasing forays by its ships and submarines into the Indian Ocean region after Beijing last month released its first ever report outlining a new military strategy enhancing its navy’s duties for the first time to “open seas protection”. China today played down Indian concerns on Chinese submarines visiting Sri Lanka and Pakistan recently.The Indian Ocean (IO) region was not India’s backyard and upholding this perception could trigger clashes, the Chinese military cautioned, with analysts seeing it as sabre-rattling by the northern neighbour to gain dominance in the strategically crucial territory, the Hindustan Times reported. “The word backyard is not very appropriate to use for an open sea and international areas of sea,” senior captain Zhao Yi, associate professor of the Institute of Strategy in China’s National Defence University, told a group of Indian journalists. “I admit geographically speaking India has a special role to play in stabilising Indian Ocean and the South Asian region.”Questions about PLA navy’s maritime strategies were raised in the context of Chinese submarines visiting Sri Lanka and Pakistan recently, but officers played down Indian concerns. “The Chinese government has been very prudent in handling PLA navy’s navigation to the IO. Most of the time when our submarines go to the Indian Ocean, we diplomatically inform our neighbouring countries,” said Zhang Wei, a researcher with the PLA Navy Academic Institute. “We should enhance cooperation in order to enhance mutual trust at the level of military and government.”Zhao quoted a US scholar who said the IO region was likely to be a focus area and at the epicentre of maritime clashes in the 21st century.“This scholar indicated that there would be severe clashes in the IO areas. I did not agree with him. But if someone views (the region) as its backyard, I am afraid this possibility (of clashes) cannot be eliminated,” the officer noted. Beijing, however, did recognise New Delhi’s stabilising influence in the IO and South Asia region, said a senior officer from the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), the largest defence forces in the world. The Indian Ocean region was very important to China as well as other countries as it was an important channel for international trade and that is why Beijing sought relevant navigational rights through it, Zhao said.