Moncton needs women's-only homeless shelter

Moncton is still in need of a women's-only homeless shelter even after new shelter will add additional space later this month.

Moncton will still need a women's-only homeless shelter, even after a new shelter adds space later this month, advocates for the homeless say.

The House of Nazareth has six spots for women and has been the only place in Moncton with shelter beds for homeless women.

When the new Harvest House opens in a few weeks, it will have a separate room with eight beds reserved for women.

Sue Calhoun, the community development officer with the Greater Moncton Homelessness Steering Committee, said the additional space is important but the goal is to have a stand-alone shelter in Moncton specifically for women.

"Both Fredericton and Saint John have emergency shelters for women that are stand-alone buildings, rather than a mixed shelter," she said. "And they both have I think it's 10 to 12 beds."

Calhoun said many of the women who end up homeless have had terrible experiences with men and she's hopeful a women's-only shelter will be a reality in Moncton in the next few years.

A fund-raising campaign for a women's-only shelter will begin soon, Calhoun said.

The idea is that it will eventually offer more than simply a place to sleep for the women.

"So that whatever the need, if they need a social worker, if they need a home economist to help them budget their money, whatever they need will hopefully be available to them," Calhoun said.

Added privacy

The addition of more space for homeless women in Moncton will likely offer a better reflection of the true need for homeless women in the city.

Cal Maskery, the executive director of Harvest House, said more women may start showing up at shelters now they know they will have more privacy.

"I suspect that as we open, we're going to see more women coming because of the privacy that's here now," Maskery said.

"It wasn't that way before, so we didn't really have, from our perspective, a true picture of how many women there really were."