‘Usually we lose someone a week’: NB advocates worry about homeless deaths – New Brunswick


Last week, a man living outside a park died. It was later revealed that he was part of Saint John’s growing homeless population.

The homeless deaths have raised concerns among groups working with those who are homeless in the city.

« We hate coming to work on Mondays because we always have to try to think about who did we lose over the weekend because usually we lose someone a week, » said Julie Dingwell, general manager of Avenue B .

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« Winter comes every year – at the same time. So why do we do this? Why do we wait until the end of November to say, ‘Oh, geez, we better do something « ? »

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Additionally, the Saint John Police Force could not put a figure on the number of drug overdoses that occurred in the past month, but noted in May that the numbers had increased by 30%.

The problem is amplified by the city’s growing homeless population, which sits somewhere around 133, according to the Human Development Council. Shelters in the city have become full as winter approaches, with one saying the beds will in some cases open for a few minutes before being filled again.

“We are full, with all 30 beds full, every night now. As soon as we see someone leave the shelter, someone else will come in,” Tony Dickens, shelter manager for Outflow Saint John, told Global News.

He said that even if housing was available, support would be needed.

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« So even if we had all the human power we need, which we don’t have, even if we had all the financial resources we need, which we don’t have, there’s still a fundamental discrepancy as to where these people would settle. ”

The trio of Fresh Start Services, Outflow Saint John and Avenue B have collectively called on all three levels of government to help the city’s homeless, with Fresh Start Services Executive Director Melanie Vautour noting that this is a a system that must be built on education.

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« I think it’s just that we’re underserved, » Vulture said.

“So the services that are there are doing a lot of work, and we need more acceptance and understanding of substance use. We need to make sure there are supportive housing models to get people off the streets.

“When you have mental health and addictions issues included, just getting an apartment isn’t enough. You need this specialized staff to come and support you, and that’s really where we’re lacking.

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


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