'We can do better': City hopes to end homelessness after demolishing tent camp
Coun. Charles Leger says dismantling of homeless camp in city's west end is 'a wake up call'
The newly appointed chair of Moncton's social inclusion committee says more needs to be done when it comes to dealing with homelessness in the city.
Coun. Charles Leger, who was appointed to the social inclusion committee about a month ago, spoke about the dismantling of a homeless camp in the city's west end on Thursday, after a meeting with The Codiac Regional Policing Authority.
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Leger, who chairs the meetings, said the tent camp site became more visible as the leaves fell off the trees, making it more clear that a lot of people were living in the area.
"We need to be more proactive," Leger said. "It hurts me to see that in our city but I think that's the reality."
Codiac RCMP Supt. Tom Critchlow said he went to the site Thursday to see the area first hand and was surprised by the number of tents and people that were there, describing it as "very sad."
Homelessness a 'big problem'
He said RCMP, which is part of the city's public safety committee, is working on a number of issues involving homelessness and prostitution in Moncton.
"They don't have the access to what they need and homelessness is a big problem for all of us." Critchlow said.
Critchlow said two people with warrants were arrested at the site, and a piece of "equipment" that was stolen, was also recovered.
A growing problem
Leger said the issue of homelessness is a problem in many growing cities.
During ongoing budget deliberations, he said the city is moving ahead with grant applications for Salvus Clinic and the YMCA's ReConnect Street Intervention Program.
The Salvus Clinic provides access to health care for people suffering with issues related to homelessness, poverty, mental health and substance abuse. It also works alongside other community and government agencies.
Meanwhile, the YMCA program helps the homeless and others who are at risk of becoming homeless.
"It's unfortunate but sometimes it's the wake up call that we need and I hope that this is the one time that, OK you know what? We start to make a difference," Leger said of dismantling the camp on West Main Street.
He said the city also needs help from both the province and the federal governments.
"Certainly if there was affordable housing, if there was a program and if people could actually get in the program and if governments listened to the people working on the ground that are saying, 'You know somebody doesn't have anywhere to live, they don't have an address and if they don't have an address, they can't get social assistance … it's a revolving door." he said.
Although Leger said there isn't a concrete solution that will solve homelessness in Moncton, he said everyone needs to work together to improve it.
"We can do better and we need to do better," he said.