Charles LeBlanc, Moncton’s head of enforcement, said “a few dozen people” were living in a large homeless encampment in a wooded area near Wheeler Boulevard.
For three weeks, teams have dismantled the encampment in collaboration with YMCA ReConnect and the Codiac RCMP.
“What you’re seeing is a direct result of public complaints,” LeBlanc said.
The encampment is located on private land and LeBlanc said the owners had complained about debris at the site.
He said he estimated some residents had been living there for “a few years,” adding that those living in the camp had been warned it would be dismantled in August.
“Since late summer, law enforcement has been out there every day and YMCA ReConnect has informed our homeless people that we are coming soon and they need to leave,” he said.
On Monday, crews were getting rid of personal belongings by the shovel. LeBlanc said those items would be taken to the landfill.
According to the most recent data available from the Human Development Council, more than 300 people were homeless in Moncton in October.
A new “out of the cold” center, where homeless people can come and warm up for the day, will open in Moncton on December 1.
It will be located in the former Lion Community Center and will be managed by the John Howard Society of Southeast New Brunswick.
On Monday, the company’s executive director, Dan Brooks, said winter can be particularly difficult for the homeless.
“Removing tent encampments, often the only form of shelter available to many homeless people, can exasperate these challenges,” he said in an emailed statement.
In fashion now
He said his organization “calls on the community and local authorities to consider these risks and work collaboratively to find humane and effective solutions.”
He said the company would “ensure essential services remain accessible to those who need them” at the new center.
Centers will also open in Saint John and Fredericton.
Last winter, the St. George Street hub site was an emergency shelter from the cold run by the Humanity Project.
© 2023 PKBNEWS, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.