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N.B. housing advocate calling on province to do more for homeless population

The executive director of Ensemble Moncton is calling on the province to do more to provide housing for those forced to camp outside due to lack of housing.

Homeless encampments have been popping up in Moncton for the past several years, despite the city banning them in 2020.

Read more:

‘What are we supposed to do?: Another Moncton tent camp cleared out

Warren believes more and more people are turning to tent cities as an option because of the housing crisis. She says sleeping outside in the summer presents health risks comparable to those in the winter.

“When we get the extreme heat, there’s still a need for the folks that we serve. You know we get that high humidity, 30 to 45 degrees…and they have no place to get out of the elements,” she said on Tuesday, adding that dehydration was also a risk.

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She said organizations like hers are doing everything they can to provide assistance but they can’t provide permanent housing.

“It needs to go beyond expecting the NGOs, ‘Oh we’ll give (them) some tax money and (they can) do it’ and then expect we’re gonna solve it all because it’s much more complicated than that,” Debby Warren said on Tuesday.

Social Development Minister Bruce Fitch doesn’t believe that’s a fair assessment.

“We are doing more. In fact, my housing budget increased by over 20 per cent in the last two years. I just passed a housing budget that’s the biggest ever for the province of New Brunswick of 120 million dollars,” he said in an interview on Tuesday.

“We’ve just doubled the number of units that we’re going to build in our projects.” he added.

Read more:

Moncton housing entity Rising Tide to receive initial funding to buy property soon

He said the province was working with several stakeholders such as municipalities, NGOs and property developers to address the multi-faceted issue.

While Warren acknowledged upcoming housing initiatives like Rising Tide, an affordable housing project coming to Moncton, she called on the community at large to try to find a better solution.

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“We need to have some alternative sources for them to go, right now we don’t,” she said.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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