Labrador boarding house closure leaves 31 homeless

A boarding house in Happy Valley-Goose Bay abruptly closed down Tuesday, leaving more than 30 people homeless.

Newman's Boarding House in Happy Valley-Goose Bay shuts down with little notice

Residents without anywhere to go following the closure of a boarding house in Happy Valley-Goose Bay are seeking temporary shelter with the local Salvation Army. (CBC)

A boarding house in Happy Valley-Goose Bay abruptly closed down Tuesday, leaving more than 30 people homeless.

Residents of Newman's Boarding House were frustrated with the sudden decision.

"We only found out [Monday] night that we had to move [Tuesday] morning. Didn't have nowhere to live, nowhere to go," said longtime resident Sherry Broomfield.
Sherry Broomfield was upset with the sudden decision that closed Newman's Boarding House, where she's been a long-time resident. (CBC)

"We needs a place to live — needs a roof over our head."

Because Newman's is a boarding house, it isn't governed by the Residential Tenancies Act, meaning it can shut down on short notice.

Many of the newly-homeless people have complex needs, including mental health issues, and some of them have been in and out of the court system.

The local branch of the Salvation Army provided residents with meals on Tuesday.

Lieut. Brent Haas, with the Salvation Army in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, said he was shocked by the sudden news.

"I couldn't believe what I had heard, actually realizing the reality that in a matter of around 12 hours there would be 31 individuals that would become homeless automatically," he said.
The Salvation Army's Brent Haas says the response from the community to the sudden closure of Newman's Boarding House was nothing short of miraculous. (CBC)

"Our main priority is to give them some hope in the midst of their hopelessness, and no doubt we can only imagine the feeling of hopelessness and despair and even frustration so we just want to remind them they're not alone."

Minister Kevin O'Brien, responsible for the Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corp., said every one of the residents will have somewhere to stay Tuesday night — whether it's with friends, family, or temporary accommodations at social service centres.

O'Brien said there isn't a long-term solution yet in sight, and coming up with one could take some time, but he said his department is working on it.