Saint John Centre of Hope

The Salvation Army in Saint John has 27 beds for emergency lodging, plus 40 beds for special-care clients. (Salvation Army, Saint John)

The Salvation Army in Saint John confirmed Wednesday that it will be closing April 30 because of a funding shortfall.

The Saint John Centre of Hope, the oldest and largest homeless shelter for men in the city, had warned its staff last week that it might have to close at the end of the month.

“Recently we have not been able to sustain the operating costs at the current funding levels,” said Maj. Alison Cowling, divisional commander, Maritime division, in a news release Wednesday.

'No one is going to  be left out in the cold.' - Rhonda Harrington, Salvation Army spokeswoman

"This shortfall has made it more difficult to provide the appropriate resources to meet the wide variety of needs we see each day.”

Over the past couple of weeks, the Salvation Army had been in discussions with the province about increasing government assistance beyond its annual $1 million in funding to help cover increasing management costs.

Maintaining presence

It was also seeking funds for capital expenditures on the building in the south end of the city, which has been home to the Salvation Army since 1982, and needs major upgrades.

However, the province says no additional funding is available.

The Salvation Army has been using divisional fund and legacy money to keep the Centre of Hope running, but that money is gone, said Rhonda Harrington, Salvation Army spokeswoman.

The Salvation Army has offered shelter to the homeless in Saint John since 1906. It currently has 27 beds for emergency lodging, plus 40 beds for special-care clients.

People who use the facilities will be taken care of, said Harrington.

"The special care units will be placed and the homeless men will certainly will be working with community stakeholders. I mean, no one is going to  be left out in the cold," Harrington said.

"The Salvation Army,  we still have a major presence here with our Saint John Corps. We offer emergency food, clothing shelter and will continue to do that."

The Salvation Army will also help provide job referral and severance to its employees.

Meanwhile, the Salvation Army said in the news release that it will partner with the province to design a new, more efficient and economical model of delivery.