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Moncton Mayor Dawn Arnold. (Photo: Tara Clow)

Moncton mayor says city taking steps to tackle homelessness

By Tara Clow Dec 29, 2023 | 5:56 AM

Moncton’s mayor says homelessness in the city is one of the challenges for 2023.

In a year-end interview, Dawn Arnold says many are struggling because of rising costs.

“What keeps me up at night are people that are working that are being rent evicted, that is very concerning to me,” says Arnold.

“To see people that are trying so hard to keep their housing and that worries me incredibly because I think if the people who are currently housed become homeless, we have a much larger issue here.”

She says she is happy to see the province has stepped up to speed up its rent bank so people can get that help if they are at risk of being evicted in the short term.

“A band-aid doesn’t solve it long term, but we need to stop the inflow of people coming from elsewhere but also people who are currently housed becoming without housing, that’s very concerning,” Arnold says.

Moncton’s mayor says she believes the city is doing what it can to tackle the homeless issue.

She says the city has increased its investment in social agencies by more than 700 per cent since 2014.

“We’ve invested $6 million in Rising Tide and they’re on track to open 162 new, deeply affordable units. We have doubled our 24/7 bylaw since 2022, a $2.6 million investment,” says Arnold.

“We just invested $310,000 in the Humanity Project’s Josh project. We just had the opening of the first 24/7 Bridge to Home Hub on St. George, providing support services, emergency beds, and a dedicated area where individuals can go throughout the day. This is the first time ever.”

She believes there is still lots of work to be done, but says they are we are making progress on it.

Arnold also applauds the provincial government for stepping up and providing better data on who is accessing the system. She says the next step is to look at how many different kinds of units are needed and what other services people need.

“We have to get them out of shelters. Shelters are a band-aid, they are not the answer,” Arnold adds.