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Fredericton homeless population seek update on winter shelter offerings

ABOVE: Fredericton pushing New Brunswick for homelessness crisis

With winter only weeks away the residents of Fredericton’s tent city and the Mayor are calling on the provincial government to share their plan for the 40 some people that are living on the street.

“When it’s bad you have to go to a bank machine if nothing else,” said Donald McLeod who has been living in a tent behind government house.

READ MORE: Zoning bylaw prevents temporary homeless shelter from opening in Fredericton

Mcleod says if the province plans to open an emergency shelter it needs to have more than the 20 beds the out of the cold shelter had last winter.

“The plan is to stay here as long as we can, hopefully they will have an emergency shelter open because we’ve all got our names in for subsidized housing but so far we’re all just waiting,” said McLeod.

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But the wait for news from the province may be over soon. On Tuesday night at a meeting of city council the mayor will table a motion to get an update from the New Brunswick Minister of Social Development Dorothy Shephard.

“Tonight is to see if council will endorse sending a letter to the minister of social development just reminding them of some of the deadlines we have coming up,” said Mike O’Brien, the Mayor of Fredericton.

Frustration grows amid delayed opening of Moncton’s new homeless shelter
Frustration grows amid delayed opening of Moncton’s new homeless shelter

If the province doesn’t plan to up the capacity at the current shelters, the city will request a location for a temporary out of the cold shelter before the cut off.

“That’s October 24th, to put the paperwork in to have something approved at the November PAC meeting,” said O’Brien.

The city would like to avoid the last minute zoning and bylaw issues that impeded the opening of the out of the cold shelter on Brunswick Street last November.

Fredericton’s tent city is located behind Government House on the banks of the Saint John River.
Fredericton’s tent city is located behind Government House on the banks of the Saint John River. Megan Yamoah

Minister Shephard was not made available for an interview. Back in March Shephard announced that $659,000 would go towards assisting shelters in the province.

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“Some people seem to be down on us but I wish they could realize that it was maybe just a few mistakes years go, and it’s hard to get going again with that stigma,” said McLeod

Soon temperatures will drop the snow will begin to fall, and this year the city of Fredericton would like to have a solid plan and place for the men and women living on the streets.