Fire exposes Fredericton's affordable housing scarcity

A recent fire in a Fredericton rooming house has exposed the shortage of affordable housing in the capital city.

Community Action Group on Homelessness is helping people find places to live

A recent fire at a Fredericton rooming house is exposing the city's shortage in affordable housing 2:23

A recent fire in a Fredericton rooming house has exposed the shortage of affordable housing in the capital city.

About 26 people were left homeless after a fire destroyed the Isaac’s Way restaurant and a local rooming house on Saturday night.

The displaced people have been staying at a Fredericton hotel since the fire. While, some of them are ready to move into new places, others are still looking to find an affordable place to live in the city.

Melinda Butler is having a difficult time finding a place to live with her boyfriend as well as her cat, Parker, after a weekend fire in Fredericton. (CBC)

Shawn Blizzard is among those people trying to find a new place to stay after the weekend fire. He said he found a spot, but he admits the selection in the city is not great.

"I got one room, I have to supply my own bed, but it's got a bar fridge and it's got its own washroom and so, I mean that's good," he said.

Blizzard has been fortunate compared to some of the others who were left homeless by the fire.

Melinda Butler and her boyfriend are still looking for an apartment but they are having a difficult time finding a place that is in their price range.

"I actually looked at some today, and I cannot find a thing on Kijiji for me and him to go to because it's all too expensive," she said.

Butler has been approved to live at a Fredericton hotel until Saturday, so she still has some time to find a home.

As she looks for a place to live, Butler said she does not want to give up her cat and she does not want to live in a shelter.

"It's just the waiting game because we have a spot until Saturday but we have to worry about Saturday onward," she said.

Calling landlords

Butler's story is becoming more common in the capital city.

Tim Ross, the co-ordinator with the Community Action Group on Homelessness, is putting out the call to landlords to see if they have any vacancies they can offer to some of the victims of the fire.

"If they have vacancies, whether it's a room to rent, a bachelor suite, a basement suite or one or two-bedroom apartment, to get in touch with us so that we can connect the victims who've been displaced," he said.

Ross said there aren't as many rooming houses as there once were in Fredericton. Rooming houses are not ideal, but Ross said they are affordable.

Ross said there's a shortage in Fredericton for all types of low-cost housing.

"We need to promote all housing types for all incomes. The most healthy communities are mixed-income communities. Where you have affordability targets, where you do have housing options for everyone, no matter where you are in the income scale," he said.