Shelter demand grows as temperatures drop
Published Thursday, December 27, 2012 6:35PM AST
As temperatures continue to drop across the Maritimes, the number of people looking for shelter is going up.
Shelters and soup kitchens are getting busy and in some cases having a hard time keeping up with the demand.
Romero House in Saint John serves hot meals 365 days of the year to around 55,000 hungry people, many of whom don’t just come in for food, but for warmth and shelter.
Executive Director Carolyn McNulty began the soup kitchen 30 years ago and has seen the need for shelters increase over the years.
“Most of the shelters in Saint John, which we don’t have that many, are filled right to the brim,” McNulty tells CTV News. “We’ve seen a lot of families get into pretty good housing, but it’s not enough. We don’t have enough of it.”
Staff at a men’s shelter on the other side of the city say they have also been having a hard time keeping up with the demand, turning away three or four people a night.
“We are seeing a lot of younger men, more so than older men,” says support services coordinator Jennifer Beckett. “This year most between the ages of 20 and 30 seem to be what more than half of our rooms are filled with right now.”
Shelter staff says numbers tend to increase when the temperature drops and weather gets bad, but they add there is not nearly enough resources to help the less fortunate in Saint John and throughout the Maritimes.
The Salvation Army says the need for more shelters is being felt right across the country. The organization doesn’t see it getting any better until more resources are put in place.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Ashley Dunbar