Some Monctonians sleeping in tents spent Thursday packing their belongings, after a notice informed them they had to move.
The notice comes as the city begins its spring cleanup.
The social inclusion co-ordinator for the City of Moncton said he’s confident a permanent “damp” shelter will be established in the city, but it won’t be coming right away.
Vincent Merola spoke to reporters as some homeless tenters, forced to vacate the land behind the city’s former emergency shelter, packed their belongings Thursday.
“We’ve been assured by the province and I fully believe that there is going to be another permanent shelter that’s damp that will be set up by the fall,” said Merola.
Two Out of the Cold shelters closed April 1, forcing some people like Ian Johnson to sleep in a tent.
“I tried a couple abandoned houses with some friends, but it was too nerve-wracking,” he said. “You couldn’t sleep and you always wondered if the RCMP was going to bust through the front door and arrest you for trespassing.”
The city offered to help move belongings and take them to storage at Harvest House.
WATCH: UNB nursing students attempting to care for the feet of the province’s homeless
Johnson, as other individuals who were sleeping on the lot off Assomption Boulevard have said, indicated that it comes down to policies and conditions at the permanent shelters in the city.
“I felt like I was being locked up in a box,” he explained. “So I never stayed.”
Cal Maskery, the founder and executive director for Harvest House Atlantic, said visitors need to be inside by 9 p.m. to keep the city safe.
“We don’t have people going out at night time because that’s when trouble happens in our city,” he said. “When everything’s closed at night time at 1 or 2 in the morning, what are people doing out there that late? Our recovery program (visitors), they’ll tell you what they used to do at 2, 3 in the morning.”
Because he also doesn’t agree with policies at the shelters, Doug Wilson says he’ll “move down the road and set up again.”
“This is not the happiest day for me to be here to have to do this but … we’re being as respectful as we can, and compassionate and caring as we can,” said Merola. “We’ve given people ample notice and we are here not to evict people, we’re here to help people move stuff.”
Merola acknowledged rules at the shelters are too much for some.
“It’s not perfect for everybody and that’s why we see tents,” he said.
It appeared to be a relatively peaceful move, although residents are certainly frustrated as they search for where they’ll sleep next.
- Canadian Navy offers ‘no strings attached’ program amid recruitment woes
- Ottawa spends millions on 944K phone lines. Nearly a third are ‘dormant’
- Ottawa repatriating 6 Canadian children from Syria without mother: advocates
- Victim’s father files application for $22 million class-action lawsuit after Old Montreal fire