N.B. homeless seek shelter from the cold
Exposure to frigid temperatures can be dangerous, especially for those who usually sleep outside.
Shelters are urging the homeless to find a warm place to stay when it gets so bitterly cold, but for some people, living outdoors is all they know.
“I lived on the streets all summer, and most of this winter,” said Stephen Little. “A lot of people think it's easy.”
Little says sleeping in temperatures below zero is anythingbut easy, and those who are homeless are finding refuge just about anywhere they can, even instant-teller rooms at local banks which provide some source of heat
“They have it set up where old people can go in there and keep warm, as long as you don't cause a problem,” Little said.
Across the Maritimes, conditions have plummeted to the minus-double digits and in some areas, feeling like -30 C with the windchill.
“It's dangerous enough that you can get frostbite,” said Harvest House Atlantic founder Cal Maskery. “You have limbs that are deeply affected by it, or in some cases it could cause a death.”
Last weekend, a man was sent to hospital in Moncton after being found in a snowbank suffering from hypothermia.
“It doesn't take a medical professional to know that it's below freezing,” said Vincent Merola of the City of Moncton. “People can die out there.”
Across New Brunswick officials working with both existing and new shelters say there's a place for everyone to get out of the cold.
“With the opening of the two new shelters, along with the 40 people that we house every night, I think there is,” said Warren Maddox, executive director of Fredericton shelters Inc.
Merola is pleased to report there is a place for everybody, even “before we set up the out of the cold shelter,” he said. “They were at capacity and still making it work- putting cots on the floor.”
Harvest House has seen their shelter capacity full with the frigid conditions and they're now expanding.
“We should have 10 to 14 additional permanent beds with lockers,” said Maskery.
That brings them a step closer to getting the homeless under a warm roof, to escape these bitter cold nights.
Temperatures in Moncton were -17 C with the windchill on Wednesday evening. It is expected to drop to -24 C overnight.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Kate Walker.