Fredericton's homeless start tent city to meet demand for shelter
It's a sad reality that becomes more obvious when it gets cold: there are people without a warm place to stay at night.
In Fredericton, a tent encampment has sprung-up right next to a major homeless shelter and some of those on the outside, can't get inside.
In Fredericton's tent city, tents, bags, supplies and shopping carts line the walking path just off of Smythe, near Woodstock Road.
For those who call this place home, being able to stay here has been quite a relief from the cold.
“It’s nice and warm,” said Joanne Edgar. “I was sleeping outside Kings Place in that snowstorm.”
That snowstorm left the brisk chill of winter in the air and ice on the ground.
For some, getting into a shelter is not that simple.
The city's three shelters are running at capacity. Every week, St. John House has to turn people away.
Those that get turned away are put on a waiting list until a bed becomes available.
“We run pretty much at capacity all the time,” said Warren Maddox, the executive director of Fredericton Homeless Shelters Inc.“So you'll hear a lot of stuff, and we get blamed for a lot of stuff. But keep in mind that, on any given night, we're housing 40 people with our organization.”
Raymond Green says “there's so many people. We need a bigger space, really.”
Even when there is space, shelters don't work for everyone.
Some people are not compatible with the social environment of a shelter, and some require access to mental health and addiction support that isn't readily available.
Tent city provides those residents with a place to call home if even just for now.
Local Frederictonians have come to the area outside of St. John House and the Fredericton community kitchen to help out any way they can.
Over the weekend, Carolyn Connor started a Go-Fund-Me campaign, in hopes of raising $6,000 to purchase army-issued tents and sleeping bags.
“Everybody deserves to be warm and dry, so that's our goal,” said volunteer Carolyn Connor.
Fellow volunteer James Oickle is impressed with the turnout of volunteers.
“A lot of people are glad that the awareness is finally there, and it shows that there have been people out there all along that were ready to do something,” he said. “They just needed to know what to do.”
With the long winter ahead, the importance of staying warm is something everyone can agree on.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Jessica Ng.