The 11th Report Card on homelessness in Greater Moncton shows a continuation of a slight decrease in number of individuals entering the shelter system.
Community Development Coordinator Darcy Cormier is with the local Homelessness Steering Committee, and she says last year the number of clients dropped by 30 from 759 in 2016, which is good news, but that’s not the whole story.
“But also, the trend that’s continuing is for those individuals who are accessing the shelter still, that their situation appears to be worsening,” says Cormier. “That once again the shelter stays are longer, and they’re coming back more often.”
The average length of a stay in emergency shelters increased from 6.07 days, to 8.48 days between 2016 and 2017.
Cormier says while they don’t have hard data to explain why that is, she suspects the loss of several rooming houses over the last two years is part of the problem.
“There’s fewer rooming houses to go to, certainly it’s not ideal, the rooming houses that were closed I’m sure that the situation wasn’t ideal and was unsafe, however it’s the only option other than a shelter for a lot of people,” says Cormier.
She says a problem related to that is the stagnant income assistance rates, which at $537 a month, isn’t enough “to cover even rent for a bachelor apartment, let alone a one bedroom.”
As of October 2017, the cost of renting a bachelor apartment in Moncton was $584 per month, and a one bedroom came in at $676 per month.
Cormier says while last year’s addition of 107 subsidized social housing units is good news, it’s just a drop in the bucket compared to the waitlist of more than 1,562 people in the Moncton area alone.
She says as regards the waitlist, there was some progress year over year, with a 22% decrease in the number of seniors, and a 13% decrease in the number of individuals requiring accessible units.
However, there was a 23% increase for both the number of Non-Elderly Singles, and Families on the waitlist.
The entire 11th Report Card on Homelessness in Greater Moncton can be found HERE.