Homeless in N.B. shuffled from one community to another with one-way bus tickets
MONCTON -- Homelessness is an issue in many Maritime communities, but some homeless people are being given one-way bus tickets out of one community -- into another.
Gregory Cripps arrived at the new shelter in Moncton two weeks ago from Miramichi, N.B.
"Social development got me a one-way ticket here," Cripps said.
Outreach workers in the city say clients have been arriving in the city on one-way bus tickets unannounced, paid for by New Brunswick's Department of Social Development.
"We have confirmed, even recently, that at least six of our new clients had been sent here to Moncton from various places within the province," said Trevor Goodwin of YMCA Reconnect.
It's a similar case for Steve MacDonald, who was offered a one-way ticket by the department this summer after his Miramichi apartment was declared unsafe to live in.
Funding for a temporary shelter there was cut off within days and the issue was handed over to Social Development.
"Then they offered us all bus tickets to whatever shelter we decided to go to throughout the province," MacDonald said.
The mayor of Moncton has since voiced her opinion on Facebook, calling the one-way tickets to shelters unacceptable. In a statement she said, in part:
"Monctonians are generous people and willing to do their fair share, but housing is a provincial responsibility, and there is an urgent need for a provincial approach."
While many understand some rural communities often have fewer resources and shelters, outreach workers say no one should be sent without proper wraparound services to meet them on the other side.
"I had no plan, nothing," Cripps said. "They just gave me the ticket and I came here."
Goodwin says the new arrivals are not connected with the appropriate services.
"They're getting lost within the system, and they're just lost within the city, so it makes our outreach job that much harder because we don't know that they're coming or that they're even here," he said.
Those on the front lines -- and the ones they help -- agree a plan needs to be in place before sending anyone anywhere.
"It's like Social Development is dumping the responsibility onto the organizations that are attempting to help people and its overwhelming the system," MacDonald said.
In a statement to CTV News, Social Development said that if a client truly has no place to go in their own community, and a homeless shelter in another region has a bed available, it may help cover transportation costs.