Saint John homeless in the cold
Advocates call for more shelters
Saint John needs more emergency shelter services for the homeless during the winter, say advocates.
With recent frigid temperatures, the Salvation Army shelter has been full.
The seasonal back-up shelter, which only opened its doors two weeks ago, only operates overnight.
And many other charitable services are only open during certain times of the day, forcing people back onto the street and out in the cold.
"The humane thing is to provide a place for people. I mean, you wouldn't leave your pets out in some of these temperatures, and I mean these are people," said Fern Bennett, the volunteer co-ordinator for the Out of the Cold shelter.
It offers 15 beds for men at the Grace Presbyterian Church, but is only between 9 p.m. and 8 a.m., from January until the end of March.
"There's nowhere for them to go," said Jillian Driscoll, also a co-ordinator at the volunteer-run shelter.
"The malls don't want them going and hanging around. If they don't have a Tim's card, they can't go in Tim Horton's. There's nowhere."
Driscoll said she hopes to see another permanent men's shelter in the city.
"In the coldest weather, it's unbearable," she said.
"I know just walking from the car into a store on some of these days when the wind is really — and I mean in Saint John we get a lot of wind — and it is bitter, and I'm all bundled up. I look at these men and I marvel that they survive."
This is the second year the Out of the Cold shelter has been open.
It currently has nine regular users. Organizers say that will likely jump to the 30 seen last year.