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Bridge To Home Hub shelter to open in former Lions Community Centre

By Tara Clow Nov 7, 2023 | 8:12 AM

The John Howard Society will operate a homeless shelter on St. George Street.

Moncton City Council approved the pilot project will see the former Lions Centre opened as a Bridge to Home Hub..

A one-year term lease agreement is being entered into with the Province of New Brunswick, with an option for renewal of up to two, 12-month terms.

Executive Director for the John Howard Society in Southeast New Brunswick Dan Brooks says they’ll focus on two streams, diversion and rapid housing.

“Basically we’re going into this intentionally and not reactively. We’re going in with a focus that’s very specific and related to putting our most vulnerable in the best circumstances and situation that we can possibly get them in to be able to get into a home that’s appropriate for them at some point.”

Brooks adds that they plan to identify those who are ready and willing and able to move into circumstances that would prevent them from homelessness or further homelessness. But they’ll also deal with those who are facing bad weather and conditions throughout the winter months.

The John Howard Society also operates Monarch Landing, a shelter on Mark Avenue, and Brooks says they are working with other shelters in the area.

“We’re all working on the same data system. So if people were to come to the Hub, they would actually go through an assessment of potential intake and then they would be diverted appropriately to the situation and circumstances at one of the other shelter providers that would be appropriate to them under the circumstances.”

Brooks says he has been meeting with managers at other shelters on a regular basis and they are currently looking at the navigation process of those in need of shelter and better living conditions, “We’ve been working on identifying where there are major discrepancies, the way we operate and trying to bring those into alignment, and we’ve been working together on process improvements across the whole system.

City of Moncton Community Development Officer Vincent Merola says they are definitely ahead of the game this year in dealing with a winter shelter, “Years prior we were scrambling very last minute well into the winter months, so this year we are certainly ahead of the game. I think the collaboration with the community is going to be instrumental here.”

From December 2022 to June 2023, the building at 473 St. George Street was used by the Province of New Brunswick and the Humanity Project for Social Solutions Inc. as an out-of-the-cold shelter.