Fredericton starting to address lack of shelter for homeless
The early arrival of persistent winter weather has caught a lot of people off guard and that includes people who live on the street.
Cities like Fredericton find themselves without enough shelter space, but the city has started addressing the problem more quickly than expected.
The recent spotlight on homelessness in the city of Fredericton has put pressure on government to do something - and that's starting to happen.
A total of four areas in the Elm City are being looked at as spots that could help ease the homelessness issue.
City council has voted to allocate two vacant properties for new affordable housing micro-units.
One property is 551 Regent St., and the other at 155 St. Mary's St.
Those two sites, which would be sold for one dollar each, could support seven micro-units.
The decision to allocate the land supports the housing first strategy that was outlined in a 2017 report titled “Paving the Road Home.”
“Once it starts rolling, we'll find out what enough is, I guess,” said James Oickle, who has been helping the residents of Fredericton's tent city.
“I'm glad that's finally rolling,” he said. “That should have been rolling now, we could have had five done this summer, but now we're on the right way for the spring, if they get built.”
Within the next week, there will also be two new shelters to service Frederictonians without a home.
As of tomorrow, the former Bishop's House, at 791 Brunswick St., will be open as an emergency shelter. It is one of two emergency shelters that will be opening in the city. The other one is on the north side.
St. Mary's Homeless Shelter will open at 35 Dedham St. on Dec. 1 in the old band council office.
“There’s always been a need for it, but we we've been seeing it intensely over the summer months,” said Chief Alan Polchies Jr., of St. Mary's First Nation.
It will be able to service up to 15 people, eight males and seven females.
“As the need is, it will probably be ongoing, to serve the needs in the community,” said Mark Brooks of St. Mary's Homeless Shelter.
The First Nation's initial goal was to fund the project itself.
But like the old Bishop's House on Brunswick, it too has seen a recent surge in donations from the public.
But the big question is, will this all be enough?
“Further on down the line, which is the more important element which is looking at the bigger picture, that it's not just all stop-gap stuff?” said Warren Maddox of St. John House Shelter.“Yeah, I think that we've got it covered. Time will tell.”
For now, those who help the homeless are happy to see some movement toward permanent solutions.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Jessica Ng.