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Seniors group facing another relocation without funding help

By Tara Clow Nov 8, 2023 | 11:57 AM

A plea to Moncton City Council for financial support for seniors programming.

In 2022, the group was forced to relocate from St. George Street to Heritage Court.

This is when the decision was made to open a winter homeless shelter at the Lions Community Centre.

Executive Director Joanne Richard says they’re now faced with another move if they don’t get some help.

“We opened with about 200 members on Foundry Street and our programming has been growing ever since. We’re now sitting at 491 members who take part in a variety of
classes we offer for seniors from fitness to creative, social health and wellness. It has been an adjustment in many ways. All the seniors are grieving, grieving the loss of the building that they were in for over 30 years. Now the notion of having to leave yet again at the end of this year is bringing back those feelings of grieving, of loss, of losing connection of not being heard, not being understood, and not having their needs met at this point,” Richard says.

Richard says they have been in discussions with Heritage Court, and they have offered an opportunity to stay for another year at a lower cost per month.

“They’re asking us to only pay the cost, which is the utilities, maintenance and so forth, which is about half of what the city is paying for us to be here right now per month. So about $10,000 a month still is a huge amount, but way less than what we’ve been paying for the past year which is $25,000 a month,” Richard says.

The group has been speaking with local contractors about the possibility of a permanent home, but Richard expects that won’t happen for at least another year or so.

“We’re asking the city for them to support us so that we can stay here. If that doesn’t happen, our programs are going to be spread within the city, at the Crossman Centre or the YMCA North end location, which are gorgeous buildings. The only thing is that we will not have offices for staff. So being able to meet one-on-one with seniors is going to be difficult because we’ll have to do it in public spaces,” Richard says.

When the group was forced to move from St. George Street, Richard says they also lost their source of revenue, because they had to close a large rental business that was also being run in that building, so they don’t have any revenues coming in right now.

“We’re hoping the city will support us until we can get back into a forever home and maybe find some other types of operational funding, “Richard commented.