Lots of demand for homeless shelter beds in Charlottetown

A women's shelter in Charlottetown is seeing demand for beds rise during the summer months.

'This is a very busy time of year for us'

Tammy Denning, executive director at Blooming House, says 2020 was slower, likely due to COVID-19 restrictions, but now they are seeing demand climb this summer. (Laura Meader/CBC)

A women's shelter in Charlottetown is seeing demand for beds rise during the summer months.

Tammy Denning, executive director of Blooming House, said they are typically busier now with most of the eight beds spoken for these days. 

In May, the shelter was about half full. But now Blooming House is close to 90 per cent capacity. 

"This is a very busy time of year for us," said Denning. "In the summertime people are more mobile."

Denning says the shelter can fill up and wait-lists are expected. (Laura Meader/CBC)

Denning said this time of year is when homeless women may consider leaving relationships or other situations.

She said evictions are also more common during the warmer months. 

'We do have wait-lists'

Denning also said as COVID-19 restrictions are lifting, there seems to be an increase in people seeking shelter. 

Denning said they can't take more people than they are licensed for and that can be tough.

"We do have wait-lists. The month of June, we had three women who we had to place on a wait-list because we were full that particular night," she said. 

Current clients include people ranging in age from 18, to a woman in her 70s and the shelter sees new people regularly. (Laura Meader/CBC)

She said they usually work with the province to see if other options can be found when they can't meet demand. 

The shelter is described as low-barrier, meaning anyone can access the shelter, including those with mental health and addiction issues. 

"They are welcome at Blooming House as long as they can keep themselves safe," said Denning. 

Current clients include people ranging in age from 18, to a woman in her 70s and the shelter sees new people regularly.

"The need is increasing," said Denning. 

Men's shelter busy too

Bedford Macdonald House, a 10-bed men's homeless shelter in Charlottetown, is also busy. 

Salvation Army Lt. Emily Newbury said most of its beds are in use regularly, but they do not see a specific increase during the summer months. 

Bedford MacDonald House is a homeless men's shelter in Charlottetown. (Laura Meader/CBC)

"We've been busy. Every night we see an almost full or completely chock-full house," Newbury said. 

Newbury said housing options have gotten slightly better lately, allowing some people to leave the emergency shelter. 

She said people need the shelter beds for a variety of reasons but many people are there because of mental health issues.

"We know there is an addiction crisis happening and that there are a lot of individuals experiencing mental health challenges that just aren't able to access the proper supports and treatments they need," she said. 

Lots of unknowns for 2021

In the past Bedford MacDonald has seen a transient population with people coming into P.E.I. during the summer and using the shelter. 

Newbury said with a PEI Pass and vaccination records needed, that may not happen this year. 

"We're really not sure with the realities of our border restrictions," she said. 

More from CBC P.E.I.



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