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Moncton group wants to build housing for homeless in former curling rink

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Moncton group wants to build housing for homeless in former curling rink
WATCH ABOVE: New Brunswick’s cities have successfully completed the first coordinated homeless count. Homelessness continues to be a problem, and as Global’s Shelley Steeves reports, one community group in Moncton has set a lofty goal to try to house the homeless – Mar 8, 2016

A community group wants to turn the former ice surface at the Moncton Curling Club into an indoor village to house the homeless.

Shelley Butler, a volunteer with The Humanity Project, says the plan is to build small dwellings inside the curling rink.

READ MORE: Moncton charity has a new home after being out on the street

“We are going to try to have 40 units,” she said, noting that each one would measure 16 feet by 14 feet.

The group’s vision is to line each side of the former curling surface with the two-storey dwellings.

Butler says each one would have balcony features in front and come equipped with a kitchenette.

She adds the group also wants to install overhead skylights to allow for a community garden to be planted in the centre of the facility.

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“We are also envisioning a large garden area … that would be self-sustaining,” she said. “We would be able to have our own vegetables.”

The Humanity Project began feeding homeless people from inside the curling club in January. The building is on loan and the group only has until the end of May to come up with more than $300,000 to buy the building.

Butler says they also need to raise at least another $200,000 to begin the housing project. The group is fundraising with a lottery, which Butler compares to the popular Chase the Ace lottery.

Efforts so far have come up short, with only a few thousand dollars raised.

“A small community in Inverness, Cape Breton was able to do it to the tune of $2.5 million … There is no reason we can’t do it for our community,” Butler said.

She says she is confident the community will rally behind a worthy cause.

“We are feeding up to 1,000 people a week without any government, without any funding whatsoever,” she said. “We are doing it on the backs of our community. Our community has come up and said ‘we are with you, we understand that you want to end homelessness.'”

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