One homeless shelter opens in Fredericton, another on the way
Published Tuesday, December 4, 2018 11:11PM AST
The scramble is on to address Fredericton's homelessness problem, and slowly but surely, relief is coming for the city’s homeless.
A new shelter opened Saturday and another’s on the way. Although the opening of the Bishop's Court shelter evening is considered a victory, it still leaves issues to be addressed.
“It's wonderful,” said volunteer Carolyn Connor. “They've got a warm place to sleep at night, but at 7:30 in the morning, they're still back out on the street.”
Sean MacDonald said “it is enough for now, but it's not a solution.”
Eight people stayed at Bishops' overnight on Saturday, and Sunday night, that number increased to 13.
Bishop's Court is equipped to house 20 individuals at a time.
Should the number of occupants increase past that, staff will work with Natuwosu, the new St. Mary's First Nation shelter to make sure those who are looking for shelter have somewhere to stay.
Across the river at 35 Dedham St., the St. Mary's shelter project has hit some obstacles of its own. They are currently working to get the building up to code. They were hoping to have some people stay overnight this week, but the soft opening is scheduled tentatively for Dec. 10.
This shelter was supposed to open on Dec. 1.
Volunteers from the St. Mary’s First Nation are working to fix walls, flooring, and install cabinetry, so the Natuwosu shelter can open its doors as soon as possible.
“There's a lot of things that need to get done before people can come in and it can operate in a safe manner,” said St. Mary’s band councillor Evan Sacobie.“So, making sure our trades are all up to code and stuff, I think is important especially when we are going to house public.”
Faith McFarland, who has been assisting Bishop's Court staff and volunteers, insists that even when both shelters are up and running, there is still work to be done.
“If we've been able to pull this off in a week or 10 days yeah, we did it, then we know we can do better collectively, so let's keep it up,” said McFarland of the Community Action Group on Homelessness. “Let's use this as a way to galvanize people in community, let's keep it on the forefront that it's not good enough just to put Band-Aids on things.”
Those real solutions include bridging gaps in housing affordability and ensuring that those who need mental health support have access to the resources, things that will take much longer to put into place.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Jessica Ng.