Priority Access

Public housing building

Priority Access

NSPHA provides priority access to public housing for Nova Scotians in certain urgent situations. To be placed on the priority waitlist, applicants must complete the following two steps:

  1. Complete an application for public housing through our online application portal or a paper application form.
  2. Complete a priority access referral form, which must be completed, dated and signed by a qualified professional as explained in the form.

If you have already applied for public housing and believe you may now be eligible for priority access, you only need to complete a priority access referral form as outlined in step two above. 

Households in the following circumstances are given priority access: 

Priority Access CategoryYou may qualify if:
Experiencing homelessness

You do not have a permanent place to live and are:

  • sleeping rough in a public space 
  • staying in an emergency shelter or transition house
  • sleeping in a car, van or motor vehicle
  • couch surfing and/or living with friends or family on the basis that it is a temporary arrangement
  • staying in a hotel on a short-term arrangement
Fleeing or experiencing family violence

You are experiencing physical or emotional abuse from a family member or intimate partner.

Family violence may include but is not limited to physical, psychological, sexual or financial abuse, harassment, stalking, or failure to provide the necessities of life.

*NSPHA will not ask you to detail your abuse experience as part of the priority access process. The nature of your experience will remain between you and your referring professional. 

Living in inadequate housing 

Your current housing poses an immediate health or safety risk that make the unit unfit for human habitation.

This includes, but is not limited to structural issues, plumbing, electrical or heating systems not working, or substances or chemicals that present an ongoing and immediate risk. 

Requiring housing near life sustaining health servicesYou need to move closer to a regional health centre to access life-sustaining health services provided by a medical professional.

Qualified Professional Referrals

The Priority Access Referral Form must be completed, dated, and signed by a listed qualified professional, which will differ depending on your situation. For a list of qualified professionals for each Priority Access Category, please click the links below:

Note: Professional referral cannot be by an applicant's friend, neighbour or relative.

  • A Housing Support Worker who the applicant has been working with prior to their referral to Priority Access
  • A Support Worker or Case Manager from the Homeless Shelter or Transition House where the applicant is currently staying
  • Medical Professional
  • Psychologist
  • Counsellor
  • Elder/Community Leader
  • Support Worker through Victim Services
  • Police Officer/Law Enforcement
  • Transition House Worker
  • Municipal Building Official 
  • Fire Marshall (or inspector)
  • Certified Tradesperson
  • Registered Home Inspectors
  • Environmental Abatement Professionals

Medical Professional

Community Resources

For a list of Community Resources, please click here.