Charlottetown homeless shelter sees number of stays triple since 2012

A homeless shelter for men in Charlottetown has seen an increase in the number of people in need of its services in the last few years.

There were 1,200 stays in 2017

Bedford MacDonald House had 1,200 shelter stays in 2017. (Brittany Spencer/CBC)

A homeless shelter for men in Charlottetown has seen a significant increase in the number of people in need of its services over the last few years.

Maj. Daniel Roode, of the Salvation Army, said when the organization took over the shelter six years ago there were typically 300 to 400 stays in a year.

In 2017, the number of stays more than tripled to over 1,200.

"So we've seen definitely in the last few years a significant increase in the usage of our service." 

Unemployment, addiction

Roode said the lack of affordable housing is having an impact on the number of people seeking help. But he also attributes unemployment and addiction issues as factors.

"In order to help folks who are experiencing homelessness, it takes a community and various aspects of services to holistically address the total need," he said. 

Maj. Daniel Roode with the Salvation Army says Bedford MacDonald House has seen an increase over the last few years in shelter stays. (Brittany Spencer/CBC)

With winter setting in early, another group is hoping to open a temporary shelter for women in the city by January.

"We're trying to secure a space … we've had a couple people come through and offer support and try to fill this," said Liz Corney, one of the co-founder's of Blooming House.

'Working on it'

"We don't have a definite location yet but we're definitely working on it," she said.

Corney said the temporary shelter would run for four months and have up to 15 beds for women. 

She said the long-term goal would be to open something more permanent. 

Liz Corney, one of the co-founders of Blooming House, says she hopes to find a temporary location for the women's shelter by January. (Brittany Spencer/CBC)

There is only one women's homeless shelter on P.E.I. located in Lennox Island.

Staff there say they're seeing more people in need as well. 

While there are few options for women in Charlottetown, Anderson House, a shelter for women leaving violence at home, does set aside a couple of beds for homeless women.

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With files from Brittany Spencer