St. Stephen, N.B. declares state of local emergency over homelessness crisis – New Brunswick Wa Jobz



The Municipal District of St. Stephen in New Brunswick has declared a local state of emergency over the homelessness crisis, just days after the death of someone in a public space.

Council voted unanimously to make the declaration during an emergency council meeting Monday.

“The failure of the Government of New Brunswick to provide adequate housing and social services to citizens affected by homelessness has resulted in deterioration of quality of life within our community,” Mayor Allan MacEachern read during the meeting.

The state of emergency further calls the situation a “public health and safety crisis” and points out that the provincial government is responsible for providing the resources needed.

MacEachern told Global News last week there are about 50 to 100 people either homeless or housed precariously in the community.

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He said the area, including the former Town of St. Stephen, desperately needed an out-of-the-cold shelter, but there was no movement from government despite the fact St. Stephen is the hub for Charlotte County.

He said people will migrate to places where services are located, which the town has, including a hospital, grocery suppliers, and pharmacies.

“We have citizens right now that are on that ladder so to speak, where they are this close to being unsheltered or homeless and so that is a growing concern,” he said in an interview on Nov. 29.

During Monday’s meeting, MacEachern said local emergency services have also been strained by the calls and the “crisis in our streets.” He said that on Dec. 1, emergency crews responded to a fatality in a public space that “only became more likely as winter weather conditions worsened.”

As part of the local state of emergency, the municipality is asking the province to provide the funding and resources needed to address the issue — including immediate housing, and long-term solutions.

The municipality is giving the province permission to evacuate citizens, as necessary, so that the proper care can be provided.

“This was something not taken lightly folks, this was something we had to do as a community,” the mayor said at the conclusion of voting.

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“We’re doing the right thing. They’re human beings and we have to take care of them.”

— with files from Global News’ Nathalie Sturgeon 

&copy 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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