New Brunswick announces funding for homeless shelters
The provincial government has just announced new funding to assist with the homelessness crisis in New Brunswick.
“This $659,000 is going to help the shelters cope with the extra capacity, and it’s also going to provide wrap-around services, mental health addiction services that we need to help individuals be successful in their new surroundings,” said Dorothy Shepard, New Brunswick minister of social development.
The funding comes after emergency shelters popped up in Saint John, Fredericton and Moncton in response to a growing need to house those without a home in the winter months.
This announcement comes after an application to prolong the closure of an emergency overnight homeless shelter in Fredericton — known as the Out of the Cold shelter — was approved by the city’s Planning Advisory Committee (PAC).
“Based on all the information provided, PAC decided that this was a reasonable request and voted in favor of it,” said Marcello Battilana, Fredericton community planning department manager.
The Out of the Cold shelter in Fredericton has been at its 20-person capacity each night, and the new funds will allow it to stay open until the end of April.
Staff who run the shelter say the issue is a lack of access to adequate housing that is safe and affordable as well as services to help the homeless maintain that housing.
“We need landlords to step up and say, ‘We’d like to hear about the provincial subsidy program, and we’d like to think about having our apartments made available to accept those subsidies,'” said Joan Kingston, chair of the Community Action Group on Homelessness.
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Shelter staff and the city have called on the provincial government to make a long-term plan to end homelessness.
“One hundred and five subsidies have been made available, 35 to Saint John, Moncton and Fredericton, and so that will help us work towards permanency for individuals who are homeless,” said Shepard.
However, shelter workers wonder if the funding will be enough.
“I just hope that by next winter, we have a little bit less of an issue in this regard and that we have more people with appropriate housing,” said Kingston.
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