New Brunswick

Fredericton shelter forces homeless men back to freezing streets

About 40 residents of the Fredericton Homeless Shelter were sent out in the cold on Tuesday morning after the shelter suddenly lost two staff members.

About 40 residents of the Fredericton Homeless Shelter were sent out in the cold on Tuesday morning after the shelter suddenly lost two staff members.

Brian Duplessis, the shelter's director, said the problem began when a staff member was fired and another staff member quit in the middle of a shift.

He said the lack of staff left him with no choice but to send the residents outside.

"[I am] very disappointed that anybody that would react, would do that and risk putting people out in the cold," he said.

So with the thermometer dipping to –31 C, about a dozen residents were left huddling together outside the shelter's door at 10:30 a.m.

Many of the shelter's residents said they had nowhere to go and were forced to stay outside.

"We don't have many options, put it that way," one resident said.

"We shouldn't have woken up this morning and gotten thrown out in the cold with no warning so we could make other arrangements."

The Fredericton shelter is normally closed for an hour starting at 11:30 a.m. while the nearby community kitchen is open.

Duplessis said the shelter was reopened by 12:30 p.m.

He said the shelter is now looking to replace the two staff members, and he doesn't expect any future closures.

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