Some homeless shelters at capacity as cold snap continues

·2 min read
Extreme cold warnings mean it's more dangerous for people to be without shelter. (Jordan Gill/CBC - image credit)
Extreme cold warnings mean it's more dangerous for people to be without shelter. (Jordan Gill/CBC - image credit)

Some homeless shelters have space while others have had to turn people away as temperatures dip to a seasonal low.

Extreme cold warnings are in effect for Campbellton and Restigouche County, Mount Carleton, the Stanley, Doaktown, Blackville area, and Woodstock and Carleton County, where the temperature will reach as low as -36 C.

Windchill is expected to be in the minus double digits in most parts of the province.

The very cold temperatures come with a risk of frostbite and hypothermia for people with no shelter. Warren Maddox, the Fredericton Homeless Shelters executive director, said shelters in the city have some "wiggle room," and there's no imminent danger of running out of space.

"Everyone is staying healthy and warm," he said.

Moncton's House of Nazareth is trying to make sure people on the streets either have a place to stay or a place where they can warm up.

Director General Zineb Elouad said the overnight shelter is at capacity, but the shelter has opened up its drop-in centre for people needing to be inside through the worst of the cold snap.

She said extra staff are on hand to make sure everyone follows Public Health protocols.

"We have help of City of Moncton with this matter," she said.

Elouad said the shelter's HVAC system has been broken, but space heaters have been brought in to keep everyone warm.

She said the drop-in centre will have snacks and blankets available, and no one will be turned away.

Mary Saulnier-Taylor, executive director of the Coverdale Centre for Women, said the 10-bed women's shelter in Saint John is at capacity, but staff are working to make sure no one gets turned away with no option.

Saulnier-Taylor said a few days ago, before the cold snap, the shelter had to turn someone away, but they stayed with family until another option popped up.

"We've been running to capacity and have been for quite a while," Saulnier-Taylor said.

Saulnier-Taylor said COVID-19 has not increased capacity, and the shelter has an isolation room for people experiencing symptoms.

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