Moncton needs more subsidized housing, report finds

The sixth report card on homelessness in Greater Moncton was released on Monday and found the number of people on the waiting list for subsidized housing in 2012 jumped by 24 per cent over 2011, to 1,219 people.

Use of shelters up, affordable housing down

The number of people on the waiting list for subsidized housing in Greater Moncton jumped by 24 per cent in 2012 over the previous year, a new study has found.

There were 1,219 people waiting, according to the sixth annual report card on homelessness, released on Monday.

Debby Warren, a member of the Greater Moncton Homelessness Steering Committee, said that figure is one of several worrisome trends.

Harvest House, which can accommodate 24 men and eight women, is one of two shelters for homeless people in Moncton (Harvest House)

"There's a hundred more people homeless accessing the local shelters and those are people with absolute homelessness, that doesn't speak to people who are couch surfing, or living in non-affordable housing," Warren said.

The report card also found that food bank usage in the city was at a three-year high.

"In troubled times those who are most vulnerable tend to suffer the most," said Warren.

Subsidized housing and ongoing support needed

According to the report card, in 2012 only 15 new subsidized housing units were added in Moncton, compared with 132 new units in 2013.

Warren said for the people who do find subsidized housing, there is still the challenge of ongoing support.

"Often the people that we work with have literacy issues, they may have mental health issues, addictions issues, you know they may never have had their own place," she said.

Warren argues that providing housing that people can afford pays off for taxpayers. 

"We need to understand that people that are supported are healthier," she said.

"Once there is subsidized support of housing, they use our services less. So ultimately, we do have a pay back."