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Emergency shelter set to open as a temporary solution in Moncton


Following multiple pleas for help and the death of a man in a washroom outside city hall, Moncton council is stepping up.

An emergency cold shelter is set to open in the coming weeks to help protect the city’s homeless population at the Moncton Lions Community Centre.

"This is one step,” said Councillor Charles Leger. "There's also in the recommendation taking a look at some tents, some portable... not portable but more industrial type tents that you can put heat in, you can put cots that would help in terms of making sure that people can find a place."

Adding, "Is it ideal? Probably not, but then maybe now we can gain a lot more traction.”

This comes at the same time as the city of Saint John has announced one of its old arenas will be used as a temporary warming shelter this winter.

In Moncton, Leger says the tents are expected to be in place no later than December 29th however, the location is still undetermined.

As for the shelter, he says it will be open and ready to go by January 1st at the latest.

“We had indicated as a city last year that it was difficult for us to operate an out of the cold shelter, we were hoping in April that we wouldn’t be a last minute again. However, the important thing is that we will have somewhere for everyone to go and stay out of the cold,” said Leger.

But will it be enough?

"It will not be enough and the shelter is not the answer unfortunately, but it's certainly going to make it such that we can accommodate as many people as possible. We don't want anyone to freeze on our streets,” he said.

However, it is still a step in the right direction according to Chris Vanbuskirk, who has been opening his church to those in need and has asked council for help.

"I think that they accomplished a lot in a very short period of time,” said Vanbuskirk. “I think it’s a very good location, I think it’s certainly a doable location.”

Adding, "if our time here could be of any help in giving people some insight, a little bit of experience in towards training, we'd love to have them."

He says the church plans to keep its doors open until the new shelter is ready to go.

The new shelter is expected to be open until May, but with things now in motion, it’s time to keep pushing for something more permeant.

"This is a beginning piece,” said Vanbuskik. “It is a stopgap. It is a Band-Aid. What we have to do now is use this to spring forward."

Looking to work as a whole, the Town of Riverview said in a statement that “it’s committed to supporting the larger issue of homelessness in the area.”

Adding, “As of now, we are unaware of municipal or private space in Riverview that would be available for an emergency shelter.”

The city of Dieppe also stated that it has received a request from the City of Moncton, adding that right now it is in the process of analyzing it. Top Stories

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