Wait list for affordable housing growing in N.B.
MIRAMICHI, N.B. -- Friday marked National Housing Day across Canada but for thousands living in New Brunswick, they have no home.
"There's no affordable housing," Miramichi MLA Michelle Conroy. "It's the number one call we get through our office every day and there just seems to be no fix for it."
It's a similar story across much of the province.
Conroy says her city has a less than one per cent vacancy rate for affordable housing.
It's a problem made worse this summer after two apartment buildings were deemed unsafe to live in by the fire marshall.
"We've had homeless people, and with the two buildings that we've had that everyone knows about at Cole Crescent, we worked with the municipality and with the community to try and help those people, and there was zero place to put them," Conroy said. "So it's a huge issue in our community and across the province."
As of Nov.1 of this year, there were 5,281 people on the wait list for public housing, according to the Department of Social Development.
"There's never going to be enough affordable housing units and so we have to really look at also wrap around services that help people with mental health issues and help people with addiction issues and get them to a better stage in their life," Minister of Social Development Dorothy Shephard.
In Moncton, some land was purchased on Joyce Avenue with the purpose of building a "community hub," to offer 20 low-income housing units, as well as ten office spaces for community outreach programs, and non-profit organizations.
"What we all really want to see is safe inclusive neighbourhoods, where everyone belongs," said Lisa Ryanof the Greater Moncton Homelessness Steering Committee.
Ryan says providing a home for those in need is about more than just building a shelter.
"When we talk about housing, we obviously need the roof and four walls, but we need to start building the essence of a home," Ryan said. "Some individuals have never had a healthy home experience and that includes community."
Ryan says she'll be taking part in a fundraising and awareness building event on Tuesday night discussing the current state of the homeless population in Moncton and the province.