New Brunswick

Plans for emergency shelter in Moncton met with some criticism

Charlie Burrell, founder and president of the Humanity Project, said one of the building options being floated for the shelter wouldn't be able to accommodate enough people.

City has been working with local shelters and organizations to find solutions for people living rough

A person sits among items saved from a tent camp in Moncton that the city demolished earlier this month. (Pierre Fournier/CBC News)

Plans for the city of Moncton's emergency shelter for people who are living rough are being met with some criticism.

Council has committed $20,000 to a new shelter and asked the province for $400,000.

The city hasn't announced where the new shelter would be located. It's waiting for what requirements the province might have, said Isabelle LeBlanc, the city's director of communications.

"We have put forward two areas that we think could meet the requirements of the province," she said. "They obviously will look at both and determine what they need and what they are looking for and will give us an answer on that hopefully very shortly."

More than the basics sought

Those requirements include basic necessities like cots and blankets, but LeBlanc said it should include more than the basics.

"We would be looking at a space where they could potentially have some additional services come to that location," she said.

Charlie Burrell runs the Humanity Project, a Moncton non-profit organization dedicated to helping feed and house people in need.

"But we often talked about some wraparound services because obviously it's one thing to be able to provide some shelter, but we also would want to provide some additional resources and assistance and support. And so the location would have to be able to accommodate that as well."

The city has been working with local shelters and organizations to find solutions for people who are living rough.

The Salvus Clinic posted a job opportunity Saturday for an "out of the cold" shelter worker.

But Charlie Burrell, founder and president of the Humanity Project, said one of the building options being floated for the shelter is the old fire hall on Assumption Boulevard. Burrell's organization, which is dedicated to helping feed and house people in need, is one that has also been working with the city.

The Humanity Project posted a lengthy response on social media to the idea, saying that the space wouldn't be able to accommodate enough people.

"To say that you're going to open up a shelter, but it's only going to start with 20 beds, and then you're going to reassess the situation when you know there's over 100 people sleeping on our streets at night, is ludicrous," Burrell said.

Dining hall to become sleeping area

He said his organization will be converting its dining hall into a sleeping space in the evenings. He hopes it will be able to sleep 80 people.

"So if they're just coming in out of the cold and they want to leave later on they are welcome to do so," he said. "If they want to come in and get a good night's sleep and stay warm [they are] welcome to do that as well."

LeBlanc says the city does not know if or when government funding might come through.

About the Author

Lauren Bird is a journalist at CBC New Brunswick. You can contact her at lauren.bird@cbc.ca