A new non-profit group in Moncton is hoping to put an end to the city’s homelessness problem.
Rising Tide Community Initiatives Inc., a housing entity formed in response to Moncton’s 2019 Community Implementation Plan for Affordable Housing, presented its business plan and funding model to councillors Tuesday evening.
“We can’t keep doing things this way,” said Vincent Merola, a community development officer with the City of Moncton.
“The longer a person is in homelessness, the more trauma they experience and the longer it takes to get out.”
The non-profit is seeking a total of $12 million over three years, with $2 million coming from both the city and the province on an annual basis.
When asked where the municipal money would come from, Mayor Dawn Arnold told reporters “That’s a great question… Where will we cut? Or will we raise taxes?”
She did say the business plan is contingent on the requested provincial funding getting approval.
But Arnold was also quick to point out the magnitude of the issue if the status quo continues.
“We know that there are so many big costs when people don’t have a safe roof over their heads.”
The business plan submitted to the city says Rising Tide, which is made up from several agencies including the John Howard Society of Southeastern New Brunswick and United Way of Greater Moncton and Southeastern New Brunswick, will essentially purchase affordable housing properties or abandoned houses and possibly vacant land.
Rising Tide says that money during the pilot phase could provide 125 affordable units and hire eight case managers to keep people successfully housed.
“A lot of the case management is making sure that individuals are safe and secure where they are, they’re where they need to be when they’re supposed to be, doctors appointments, medical appointments, counselling appointments,” Hicks says.
“Keeping people on track, being there in case there’s any sort of issue where there’s a number to call and someone is going to answer the phone at 2 o’clock in the morning.”
Hicks says if they get the funding secured from the municipality and the province, it would start out by purchasing one building and make sure things go smoothly before purchasing another building or property.
The buildings or properties would be spread across the city and some units within the buildings would be rented at full cost or market rent, while others would be affordable units, meaning they’d be subsidized to cost no more than 30 per cent of someone’s income.
Within the city, 176 people are currently homeless, 138 of them chronically so, according to numbers from the city’s Housing Assessment Review Team (HART).
As for implications from a potential spring provincial election, or as a result of upcoming municipal elections in May, Arnold said, “we’ll see.”
“Doing nothing is not an option,” she said.
City staff are to meet with provincial representatives and report back to councillors March 16.