New Brunswick Tribune

Monday, May 29, 2023

Due to capacity issues, the largest shelter for women in the Atlantic excludes people

The largest Atlantic women's shelter turns people away owing to capacity issues

Key Takeaways:

  • According to reports, the shelter in New Brunswick has been continuously working above capacity since March, which has had an impact on their food supplies and led them to turn to social media for help.

The largest women’s shelter in Atlantic Canada is so crowded that it must turn people away.

The New Brunswick shelter has reportedly been constantly operating at full capacity since March, which has taken a toll on their food supplies and forced them to resort to social media for assistance, according to Crossroads for Women Executive Director Chantal Poirier.

According to Poirier, “normally when we’re at full capacity, we can handle it for a couple of weeks as well as our food supply is good, but seeing as it’s been going on since March and even throughout the winter, the numbers were very high, our inventories were running quite low.”

Following the shelter’s request for food donations last week, community members refilled the pantry’s shelves.

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Poirier estimated that the food would likely last two weeks due to the high occupancy rate and the significant number of kids staying at the shelter.

She continued that we won’t be able to sustain ourselves at our current rate for very long, so we must keep asking for help.

She clarified that a significant portion of their food supply is obtained through food banks, which also deal with scarcity.

She is hopeful that things will improve because they will soon be allowed to resume fundraising efforts that were mostly suspended due to pandemic limitations.

She claims that in the interim, her organization is compelled to turn individuals away owing to capacity concerns, a problem she claims is shared by other organizations in New Brunswick.

The largest Atlantic women's shelter turns people away owing to capacity issues.
The largest Atlantic women’s shelter turns people away owing to capacity issues. Image from Meeri News

“We’re getting 3 or 4 phone calls a day now, compared to three or four a week before; in total, we’ve had 2,200 calls only since April. Many calls that is.

She acknowledged that various factors are driving up demand at the shelter but said that individuals were staying there longer due to a shortage of affordable housing.

Despite the shelter’s obligation to offer a 30-day stay to individuals in need, she claimed that most guests stay for three to six months.

“These people can no longer find affordable accommodation; therefore, it takes a lot longer for them to find a place to go from the shelter, so our numbers are kind of hanging tight,” Poirier stated.

She continues to urge anyone needing assistance to call the shelter since they can offer assistance differently.

The provincial departments of Social Development and Women’s Equality, both of which contribute to the funding of initiatives like Crossroads for Women, we’re unable to respond to Global News’ request for comment by the deadline for publication.

Source: Global News

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