'I don't want to see anybody die': N.B. advocates call for resources, help to get people off the street
Scott Earle works on the front lines with Fredericton’s homeless communities and knows how difficult this time of year can be for people living rough.
"Last year I found two people buried in the snow sleeping,” said Earle. “One, we had to get an ambulance and one we just got inside, so that's my biggest concern, I don't want to see anybody hurt and I definitely don't want to see anybody die but we've got to do something to get the people off the street.”
Monday is National Housing Day - a day Earle hopes will serve as a reminder for people with a roof over their head of their good fortune.
"They are worried about the winter coming,” said Earle. “Even today's storm, some were down along the riverbank and had to be told to move up because we were afraid it would flood them out. They're worried just like they are every November about where are we going to go what are we going to do. COVID is still in play, so there's still no public washrooms, showers, places where they can gather inside.”
As the weather gets colder, Fredericton's homeless shelter is preparing for an influx of clients who can no longer get by outdoors.
"The normal stuff for us is onboarding blankets and sleeping bags, those little crunchy heat packs, thermapacks for putting in your hands and socks - those are a godsend. Making sure that we have a decent stock and thanks to the community and all the wonderful knitters that are out there that bring us in these beautiful wool socks which are really good to have,” said Warren Maddox, executive director of The Shelters.
Maddox said the organization is looking for donations of winter coats, hats, and mittens to tide people over until housing becomes available. They’re hoping to get more roofs over people’s heads in the new year.