Moncton homelessness jumps to 400
The number of homeless people in Moncton has jumped in the past month to 400 from about 250, putting a strain on local not-for-profit outreach organizations.
Gillian Johnson, a member of the Greater Moncton YMCA's Reconnect program, which helps people on the streets, said it's not uncommon to see an increase in the spring and summer.
But this year the spike is bigger than usual and the program needs the public's help, she said.
"We're always looking for funding to help fulfill the needs of the community so the more people are coming in for help, the more we need people to donate items, whether it be non-perishable food items or financial donations for us to be able to assist them in getting their IDs or gift cards for food, gently used bedding, that sort thing," Johnson said.
One of the biggest challenges for people who are trying to access social assistance is coming up with the $50 they need to get government-issued photo identification and money for a damage deposit to secure a room or an apartment, said Johnson.
"Those that are less fortunate, living in shelters, or actually living out on the streets and trying to get back on their feet and access potentially assistance and get housing — they can't do this without financial assistance because they must have an address, so in order to get an address you must have a damage deposit as well as have identification."
A study released in March showed the number of people on the waiting list for subsidized housing in greater Moncton jumped by 24 per cent in 2012 over the previous year.
There were 1,219 people waiting, according to the sixth annual report card on homelessness.
The report card also found that food bank usage in the city was at a three-year high.