100 volunteers needed to open emergency homeless shelter

With temperatures getting colder at night an emergency shelter in Saint John is hoping to open earlier this year.

Salvation Army filling up as temperature drops

There are times of the day when some homeless people are forced back onto the streets in Saint John. (CBC)

An emergency men’s shelter in Saint John is hoping to open earlier this year because of the dropping evening temperatures, but it'll need more volunteers.

With the Salvation Army shelter full, the Out of the Cold shelter is the only other place homeless men can find a warm place to sleep in the southern city.

Jillian Driscoll, the shelter's co-ordinator, counts the supplies left over from last winter, she said she wants to open in December instead of waiting until January.

There are toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, combs, soap and canned goods, but the one thing she needs is more volunteers.

Driscoll said it’s a difficult time of year for homeless men who don't have many options.

"At night they're kicked out of the malls, they're not allowed in those places. They can't go in Tim Hortons unless they have money," she said.

"So we do give them, in bad weather in the winter, we give them a $5 Tim Hortons card so that they can have a reason to be in there out of the weather."

Staff are trying to recruit volunteers now, especially for a midnight to 7 a.m. shift. Driscoll estimates 100 volunteers will be required to open earlier. That's up from the 70 volunteers last year.

Fern Bennet, a volunteer at the shelter, said it's one of the only places men living on the street can find overnight protection.

"You don't have to be bumming around looking for inadequate shelter, or gathering old carpets and sleeping underneath a bridge," she said.

The shelter offers 15 beds.