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Neighbourhood Works is located in the former Holy Rosary Catholic Church in St. Stephen. Image: Mark Downey

A place for unhoused people in St. Stephen to sleep

By Brad Perry Feb 14, 2024 | 4:59 PM

Unhoused people in St. Stephen now have a warm place to sleep at night — at least for the time being.

A drop-in centre on Union Street, operated by Neighbourhood Works, now has sleeping accommodations.

The centre had been operating 24/7 since mid-December but was unable to provide a place to sleep until now.

“I want to thank the service provider, Neighbourhood Works, for stepping up to make this happen as we continue to work towards long-term supportive housing,” Social Development Minister Jill Green said in a news release on Wednesday.

“It is amazing to see what can happen when a community comes together to help those who need it most.”

The drop-in centre will continue to operate around the clock until mid- to late April, according to the release.

Plans were in the works for a temporary homeless shelter at the end of Happy Valley Road in the community.

However, residents and business owners who live near the site raised concerns about having a homeless shelter in their community.

That led to a closed-door meeting where they were told the project had been put “on hold” until a more suitable location could be found.

Wednesday’s provincial news release said the municipality will continue to focus on longer-term supportive housing solutions.

It will also support the development of a task force that will identify the types of housing and support required.

“We are so pleased to see a place for our residents to stay the night when they need it,” St. Stephen Mayor Allan MacEachern.

“Expanding services at this existing location is taking care of our immediate needs for our citizens and will accelerate the development of future permanent supportive housing.”

Jim Stuart, executive director of Neighbourhood Works, said they are happy to expand their service offerings until a more permanent supportive housing solution can be secured.