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The Social Development building on Somerset Street in Saint John will be used as an out-of-the-cold shelter. Image: ©2023 Google

Province responds to Saint John tent encampment death

By Brad Perry Jan 9, 2024 | 6:11 AM

There was space available at an out-of-the-cold shelter the night of a fatal tent encampment fire in Saint John, according to the province.

The Department of Social Development provided a statement Monday in response to a request for an interview with Minister Jill Green.

“It is a tragedy that a death has occurred, and the Department of Social Development wishes to express sincere condolences to relatives and friends of the deceased,” said the statement.

It went on to say that capacity “wasn’t an issue this past weekend” at the 40-bed out-of-the-cold shelter on Somerset Street being operated by Outflow Ministry.

The facility opened in December and will operate as a temporary shelter in April, at which time it will become a fully operational homeless hub with customized wraparound services.

RELATED: Volunteers mourn victim of encampment fire

“The province continues to focus on reducing chronic homelessness in New Brunswick and continues to engage with stakeholders at all levels of government and in the community,” said the statement.

It noted that the province has also expanded its professional outreach services, which serve as a street presence for those unsheltered looking for supports and services.

In the Saint John area, Outflow Ministry is working in collaboration with another organization called Fresh Start.

“Social Development’s focus remains on providing long-term solutions and wrap-around supports to those experiencing homelessness,” said the department.

“We continue to work closely with our partners across the province to ensure all New Brunswickers have access to safe spaces.”