She said she just needs the money to do it.
“What we would be doing is removing administrative offices so we need to find a new home for admin so we would be turning those into bedrooms. So we do have the room,” said Chantal Poirer, the shelter’s executive director.
Poirier said she has asked the province to fund 10 to 14 badly-needed additional beds for women, and often their children, trying to escape situations of domestic violence.
The annual cost to accommodate the additional beds, she said, is roughly up to $100,000 a year.
The shelter can house 38 women, she said, but there’s been a spike in occupancy since COVID-19 restrictions were loosened a few months ago.
The shelter is now full and resources are strained she said, “last year we turned away 91 women at the shelter specifically for lack of space only so obviously there is a need”.
Poirier would like to have the new beds up and running by November
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“We are working on it now without government officials to try and get that rolling before the winter months”, she said.
Earlier this week the federal government announced $1,000,0000 in funding for a rapid housing initiative amid at COVID-19 with the goal it to create more affordable housing for vulnerable sectors.
Poirier hopes that funding can be used to open two more step up subsidized housing units for women transitioning out of the shelter
Abigail McCarthy, a spokesperson for the New Brunswick Department of Social Development is “looking forward to learning more about the funding and to see how it might be used to help address housing and homelessness in New Brunswick”
But McCarthy did not say if funds for the additional beds at the shelter are being provided.
Poitier said it’s unfortunate.
“I don’t want to say that we are turning away women because they won’t reach out but we are at max capacity,” said Poitier.
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