Dalhousie Legal Aid Service is suspending drop-in services during May while it deals with a backlog of cases.
That means low-income and vulnerable people looking for legal help to deal with tenancy issues in Halifax will need to look elsewhere for now.
“Like all of the services that are supporting people dealing with the outcomes of the current housing crisis, we’re really maxed out,” said Joanne Hussey, a community legal worker at Dalhousie Legal Aid.
In the past, Dal Legal Aid’s client load has been an even split of people with questions about income assistance and people needing help with tenancy issues.
But Hussey said residential tenancy issues in the past year have made up “almost 100 per cent” of their work, though issues of income and housing are not necessarily mutually exclusive.
“We’re seeing people who know that if they are forced out of the housing that they currently have that they’re not going to be able to find alternate housing,” she said. “So they really are using every option they have to try and figure out how to be able to stay.”
Hussey said government needs to do more to address the root causes of income and housing insecurity and also recognize the value of the service that community and outreach organizations bring to the table.
“There are a lot of people who are working very hard to ensure that a bad situation doesn’t get a lot worse,” she said.
Scaling back services is not a decision Hussey takes lightly.
The only other time Dalhousie Legal Aid