As many as 23 people could end up on the streets after officials with the Moncton Fire Department ordered the tenants of a boarding house to leave the building because it is deemed "dangerous" for occupants.
Michel Castonguay lived at the boarding house on Steadman Street for 12 years up until earlier this week, when he said fire officials and RCMP officers showed up at the building and issued him and other tenants eviction notices.
Castonguay said officials told him they were responding to a complaint about the building, and that the eviction notices were being issued because the building had been deemed unsafe.
Castonguay, who's been homeless in the past, said the boarding house was a refuge for those living on the streets because of its affordability.
He's now questioning the city's move, considering he expects many of the tenants will end up homeless again and living in conditions more dangerous than the boarding house.
"What's wrong with the system is that these people that are living in these rooming houses, they're in much [more] unsafe areas, like in the woods, under bridges, where there's rodents, where in the wintertime, during the snow, they're under heavy conditions," Castonguay said, speaking on Information Morning Moncton.
Tenants given temporary accommodations, city says
In an email to CBC News, Isabelle LeBlanc, spokesperson for the City of Moncton, said that in most instances fire prevention officers try to come up with solutions to avoid having to evict people.
"However in this particular situation, the condition of the property was deemed to be dangerous and was jeopardizing the safety of the individuals occupying the building. The decision was therefore made to evict."
LeBlanc said all occupants and tenants of the building were offered temporary accommodations immediately.
"It is important to note that when these unfortunate situations occur, frontline agencies such as the Red Cross and others are contacted to provide assistance to the individuals willing and wanting to accept it.
"The objective is to help occupants find alternate accommodations until the owner of the building finds a solution to deal with the issues at hand."
They're going to end up back on the street... and the problem's going to get worse - Michel Castonguay, former boarding house tenant
Castonguay said he's been told the temporary accommodations will last only a few days.
Once that time's up, he plans to temporarily stay in a friend's basement, but doesn't think many of the other tenants will have the same luxury.
"They're going to end up back on the street... and the problem's going to get worse," Castonguay said.
"COVID was an emergency. This is an emergency. I mean, none of these people got helped and the situation is not getting better. It's getting worse."