New Brunswick

Saint John group aims to find homes for 30 vulnerable people by Christmas

A Saint John social services group is launching a campaign to provide permanent housing to 30 homeless people in the city before Christmas.

People who receive housing will be chosen based on their vulnerability

Cathy Foote is the affordable housing specialist with the Saint John Human Development Council. (Submitted by Cathy Foote )

A Saint John social services group is launching a campaign to provide permanent housing to 30 homeless people in the city before Christmas.

The "In From the Cold'' campaign tries to address a growing homelessness problem by opening up space in shelters and offering people who are homeless some support through a host of local partner organizations, said Cathy Foote, the affordable housing specialist with Saint John's Human Development Council.

The council partners with agencies, including New Brunswick Housing, the New Brunswick Association for Community Living, the John Howard Society and the Elizabeth Fry Society.

"It's a tailored response, in terms of providing support for people and hoping to sustain tenancies over time," Foote told Information Morning Saint John

The campaign will officially launch on Nov. 22, but already has more than 15 housing solutions pending with a potential move-in date of Dec. 1. 

She said the council is still looking for landlords who are willing to provide housing or creative solutions for housing. 

Foote said the 30 people who receive housing will be selected based on their vulnerability. 

She said homelessness in Saint John is "more visible" this year, and shelters have been at or near capacity for the last few months. 

"There seem to be more people 'sleeping rough,' as we would call it, and in need of shelter or housing in some capacity," Foote said.

The campaign aims to make more room available in shelters, especially for people with more complex situations who  may not be ready for permanent housing. 

Foote said about 100 people in Saint John are struggling with homelessness, but 60 to 70 of these people are considered chronically homeless, meaning they've been living rough for six months or more. 

She said the campaign will focus mainly on providing housing and support to this more vulnerable group.

"Those are the folks that do need those more intense supports and they're more likely to become entrenched in homelessness if they don't have those supports," she said. 

"There's also a high level of individuals in that category who would need additional support around addictions and mental health." 

With files from Information Morning Saint John

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