New Brunswick

Fredericton out-of-the-cold shelter approved for one more month

Fredericton's out-of-the-cold shelter will now stay open until the end of April. The shelter had been approved to operate until the end of March, but the city's planning advisory committee approved a one-month extension on Thursday.

The city's planning advisory approved a one month extension of the temporary zoning amendment for the shelter

The old bishop's house on Brunswick Street was converted to a temporary homeless shelter, and organizers now have permission to keep it going for another month. (Philip Drost/CBC)

Fredericton's out-of-the-cold shelter will now stay open until the end of April. The shelter had been approved to operate until the end of March, but the city's planning advisory committee approved a one-month extension on Thursday.

"It gets us out of the cold, the real cold," said Joan Kingston, who manages operations at the out-of-the-cold shelter on Brunswick Street.

Kingston said April is still a cold month, and it was important to keep the shelter open until May. 

"As you get into May, those things are a little bit better," said Kingston.

"It doesn't mean that the problem has been solved, but it does mean the obligation to really help people stay out of the cold and stay safe is a little bit less."

The emergency shelter on Brunswick Street gives about 20 people a warm bed every night. It opened up in December in response to a cold start to the winter, when many of the city's homeless were trying to get by in tents. 

Joan Kingston said the extension is a short-term fix for a complex problem. (Philip Drost/CBC)

The shelter needed a temporary zoning amendment to open, which it was granted back in December. That allowed it to stay open until the end of March. 

Thursday's vote means it will stay open until April 30.  

Kingston said the shelter won't need any more extensions, but more needs to be done to solve the homelessness problem in Fredericton. 

"We need landlords to step up and say 'we'd like to hear about the provincial subsidy program, and we'd like to think about having our apartment made available to accept those subsidies,'" she said.

Councillor wants province to step in

Coun. Kevin Darrah, who voted to approve the extension, said the onus to do more now falls on the provincial government. 

"The province's mandate is to look after things like education and health care, and the city's mandate is not," said Darrah. 

The Department of Social Development needs to look after people who are homeless, he said.

While city staff recommended approving the extension, staff said the Brunswick Street location wasn't a long-term solution. The shelter is in a house used by former Anglican bishops and was donated by the church.  

"This facility on the property — that's there is not the correct place for it," Darrah said. "There are other better places for it."

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

now