Facts and Figures

Public Housing Building

Nova Scotia Provincial Housing Agency (NSPHA) is a Crown corporation dedicated to providing deeply affordable housing to low-income Nova Scotians. As the largest social housing provider in the province, we operate and maintain more than 11,200 public housing units in a variety of building styles, from single-family homes to high-rise apartment buildings. We proudly house over 17,800 Nova Scotians. 

Although NSPHA is housing more tenants than ever by reducing the vacancy rate and unit turnaround times, demand exceeds our existing housing stock. 

This page presents a snapshot of public housing – from applicants to current tenants. 

Who We Serve

NSPHA provides safe and deeply affordable homes to nearly 17,900 Nova Scotians.

DistrictNo. of tenants% of total tenants
Metro6,49636.3%
Cape Breton5,26329.4%
Northern2,87516.1%
Western3,25718.2%
Province-wide17,891100%

Households by Tenant Type

NSPHA manages over 11,200 public housing units across Nova Scotia.  

There are over 17,500 Nova Scotians living with NSPHA. By household type: individuals and couples under the age of 58 represent 6% of households, families (at least one adult and one dependent) 23% and seniors 71%.

2.9%
Vacancy Rate

Maximizing Housing Stock

The vacancy rate of public housing units as of March 2024 is 2.9%. 

Growing Demand for Public Housing

Although the NSPHA is housing more tenants than ever before by reducing the vacancy rate and unit turnaround times, demand exceeds the amount of existing housing stock. 

Waitlist numbers are a snapshot in time. Wait times can be influenced by the number and location of buildings selected when applicants apply, as well as the size of the household. The average time current applicants have spent on the waitlist is about 2 years. 

By improving unit turnaround times, reducing vacancies, system improvements, modernizing and consistently applying our policies; as well as addressing overhousing, we have reduced average wait times by four months. 

Click here to apply for public housing.

Waitlist Applicants by District:

District%Avg. Time on Waitlist*
Metro452.3 years
Cape Breton131.3 years
Northern171.9 years
Western251.9 years
Province Wide1002 years

*Wait times may shorten based on a number of factors, including: the number of buildings and communities the applicant selects, the size of the applicant's household, and the applicant's eligibility for priority access.

Priority Access

NSPHA provides priority access to public housing for Nova Scotians in vulnerable situations. For more information on priority access, click here. Households in the following circumstances are given priority access: 

  • experiencing homelessness, 
  • fleeing or experiencing family violence, 
  • living in inadequate housing, and; 
  • requiring housing near life sustaining health services.