Fredericton's new out-of-the-cold shelter set to open this week

Fredericton's newest out-of-the-cold shelter is expected to open by the end of the week. 

Joan Kingston, chair of Fredericton's Community Action Group on Homelessness, said the shelter could open as early as Friday night.

The John Howard Society of Fredericton purchased the building at 332 Brunswick St. for a shelter last month.

Although donations have been pouring in, the shelter still needs food and toiletries as it prepares to open its doors to overnight guests.

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"Fredericton people are very, very generous," Kingston said. "And when they know what you need, they figure out a way to get it to you."

The shelter is asking for: 

  • Canned meat/vegetables, hot chocolate, coffee, peanut butter. jam, Cheese Whiz, water bottles, popcorn, pasta, tomato sauce, crackers and microwave food.
  • Toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, hand lotion, tampons, hair brushes, toilet paper, Kleenex, paper towel, towels, face cloths, liquid soap.
  • Jeans, sweaters, long sleeves, jackets, scarves, mittens, winter boots.
  • Sleeping bags.
  • Blankets.
  • Pillows.
  • Pillow cases.
  • Single bed sheets.
  • Book bags.
  • Thermos.
  • Dish cloths.
  • Plates and cutlery.
  • Hot packs.
  • Gift cards for local coffee shops or grocery stores.

The shelter will also need cleaning supplies and furniture once it gets underway. 

Donations can be dropped off at Wilmot Church from Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. 

Kinston said the shelter will house between 20 and 30 people a night on a first-come, first-served basis and there would be a low barrier for entry.

"There's not much that would keep you out," said Kingston.

Last year, 20 mattresses were also donated to the out-of the-cold-shelter at the former Bishop's house on Brunswick Street.

Each night, the shelter will be operated by two staff members and three to five volunteers, who prepare snacks and help people settle in and get ready for bed. 

Kingston said the shelter does more than just keep people out of the cold overnight. It can actually help people get in a better position.

"[One] thing that we did last winter that really made a difference was that we were able to use the time that we spent in the evening with guests to engage with them, to connect them to services in the community, to put them on the path to permanent housing which is really what the goal is."

Nearly 200 people volunteered last year and the shelter is hoping for just as many this winter. 

In the future, the John Howard Society hopes to develop the property into additional affordable housing units.