New Brunswick

Shelter set up for tenants from a Miramichi apartment building to close next week

A temporary shelter set up for tenants who were forced to move out of a Miramichi apartment building after it was declared unsafe will close on Monday, even though some residents have yet to find housing elsewhere.

Social Development suggests tenants look to private market for lodgings

Residents were given notice Tuesday from the Red Cross that funding from the Department of Social Development will soon end and the shelter will close. (Submitted by Steve MacDonald)

A temporary shelter set up for tenants who were forced out of a Miramichi apartment building after it was declared unsafe will close on Monday, even though some residents have yet to find housing elsewhere.

Residents were given notice Tuesday from the Red Cross that funding from the Department of Social Development will soon be cut off and the shelter will close.

The letter also said that the Red Cross will assist residents until that time.

In an email to CBC News, Abigail McCarthy, a spokesperson for Social Development, said case managers are working with income assistance clients. However, with limited public housing available, the department is encouraging residents to seek housing on the private market.

But Steve MacDonald, who has been living at the shelter since he was forced out of the building, said finding another apartment isn't an option for many tenants.

"I can't afford to pay first and last month's rent again," said MacDonald, adding he's on a fixed income because of medical problems. 

"I just paid it, like, two days before this happened."

MacDonald said he'll probably have to go to another shelter. He's been unable to see his son since he doesn't have any housing.  

Stressful living

MacDonald said accommodations at the shelter are fairly sparse. It consists of about 15 cots on a gym floor with no privacy.

He said some people come and go, opting to stay in a tent at the apartment site in good weather, but returning when it rains.

On June 19, tenants of 15 Cole Cres. were told by the fire department that the three-storey apartment building was not up to code. (Steve MacDonald/Facebook)

On average, there are between 15 and 20 people staying at the shelter.

MacDonald said the lack of privacy is causing a lot of stress.

"It's been since the 19th, I guess, when we were kicked out [since anyone's] had a moment of privacy," said MacDonald.

It's been two weeks since a fire marshall deemed the building on Cole Crescent unsafe. People have been staying with relatives or friends, or on cots at a temporary shelter at a local high school. But as of July 8, resident Steve MacDonald said that's no longer an option. 6:58

"You can't go for a walk, really, because you're still going to be going by people … there's been a lot of arguments, a lot of confrontations."

Brian Grosseth, who owns the apartments, said on June 24 that his goal was to get the residents back into the building as soon as possible.

CBC News attempted to contact Grosseth for an update Tuesday, but could not reach him.

MacDonald said it feels as if the tenants are being abandoned.

"From my understanding we're on our own," he said.

"I mean, the letter stated that we needed to find other accommodations, whether it be relatives or whatever."
 

With files from Viola Pruss and Shift

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.