PEI

Men's homeless shelter in Charlottetown offering a look inside

Bedford MacDonald House, a men's homeless shelter in Charlottetown, is having an open house this week to show people how it functions.

Bedford MacDonald House hosting an open house Wednesday

'It's an opportunity to actually see what Bedford MacDonald House is,' says Mike Redmond, residential manager. (Sarah MacMillan/CBC)

Bedford MacDonald House, a men's homeless shelter in Charlottetown, is having an open house this week to show people how it functions.

Mike Redmond, residential manager, says he believes this is a first for the shelter.

"Really it came from the staff and our case workers who wanted to open the house so that people in the general public could have a better understanding of what Bedford MacDonald House is," he said. 

"To start to break down some stigmas and help with some educational pieces."

Redmond said staff will be there to answer questions and the men living at the shelter have also been invited to be part of it, if they wish.

Trying to find housing that meets their income is very very difficult.— Mike Redmond, Bedford MacDonald House

"It's an opportunity to actually see what Bedford MacDonald House is, to understand the case management plans we have in play," Redmond said.

Redmond said at the moment the shelter is full, with 12 men staying at the location.

Beyond capacity

Bedford MacDonald House has been beyond capacity for months now.

"We hope to be alleviating that in the very very near future as we are working hard with the government to find transitional housing," he said.

Redmond says the longest stay at Bedford MacDonald House has been about '60 to 80 days.' (Sarah MacMillan/CBC)

The shelter has had to lengthen the amount of time people can stay there because of the vacancy rate being close to zero in the city.

Previously, men were allowed to stay at the shelter for a maximum of seven days within a 30-day period. Now, that's gone up to 21 days.

"There is a guide of 21 days. However, with the rental market that exists in Charlottetown and across the Island today, that's really an exceptional challenge," Redmond said.

Redmond said the longest stay has been about "60 to 80 days." He said it is hard to find housing that is affordable for the men staying at the shelter.

"A better part of three-quarters of the men do have jobs," he said. "Trying to find housing that meets their income is very very difficult."

Redmond said the shelter works hard at retraining, re-education, re-employment and reintegration back into the community.

"It will hopefully re-educate or educate people in what they thought a homeless shelter looks like, and understand sometimes people are at a low point and just need a hand up," Redmond said.

The open house runs from 4 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday. Bedford MacDonald House is located at 184 Weymouth St.

More P.E.I. news

With files from Angela Walker

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