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CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. — Whereas greater than half of the beds accessible on the province’s new emergency shelters on Park Avenue in Charlottetown have been crammed throughout its first weekend in operation, some persons are nonetheless cautious about making the most of the service.
After opening the doorways of one of many two new shelter areas on Dec. 9, Shelley Cole, supervisor of housing companies for the Division of Social Improvement and Companies mentioned the variety of individuals staying in a single day has elevated every day.
“I believe issues went rather well for the primary weekend,” she mentioned, noting that 19 individuals have been staying on the shelter in a single day by Dec. 11.
Cole mentioned the shelter that opened on Dec. 9 has 25 beds. It had 10 individuals keep the primary night, and 17 individuals keep on Saturday. As a result of delays in building, Cole mentioned the second shelter remained closed. It’s slated to open on Dec. 16.
A unique expertise
Cole mentioned those that stayed on the shelter in a single day have been enthusiastic in regards to the new house and among the new facilities it gives over the opposite shelters in Charlottetown.
“The factor persons are most fascinated with is the flexibility to ebook a mattress for as much as 30 nights prematurely,” she mentioned. “Not having to fret about the place one goes to sleep at night time – that could be a large reassurance for people. The second factor is the flexibility for people to retailer their belongings.”
Cole mentioned the brand new shelters provide all-day storage for private belongings for these staying a number of nights. She mentioned everybody who used the shelter over the weekend has prebooked their beds for the following 30 days.
Nevertheless, whereas the shelter has seen regular uptake, a few of Charlottetown’s homeless inhabitants are nonetheless skeptical it is going to work for them.
For Alyssa Perry, who’s staying on the Charlottetown Occasion Grounds tent encampment, her previous experiences with different shelter areas have left her cautious about utilizing the brand new modular shelters.
“I don’t actually like staying on the shelter. I hate it,” she mentioned when SaltWire Community spoke along with her on Dec. 12. “When you get there, you possibly can’t go away from 4 to eight the following morning. Even when you’ve got someplace you must go or one thing to do, they’ll give your mattress as much as any individual else in the event you go away.”
Perry mentioned the shelters will work for some however not all. However with temperatures dropping under freezing through the night time and mornings, staying exterior is turning into harder.
“It has been fairly chilly. There are nights the place I needed to keep in my tent curled in a ball,” she mentioned. “I couldn’t stand up and do something as a result of it was that chilly. There was nothing I may do about it, and nobody would assist, so I may have froze to demise. I’m type of sick of it exterior.”
Freezing to demise is an actual concern for some on the encampment. Will, a resident there who declined to present his final title, mentioned he’s involved for among the people who find themselves battling addictions, as a few of them don’t have heat garments, not to mention a tent to remain in.
“They aren’t the individuals which can be going to go to the trailers over there or another shelter,” he mentioned on Dec. 12. “They’re those who’re wandering round to discover a place to remain a lot of the night time and simply hold going.”
As for the brand new shelters, Will mentioned he might use them each occasionally if it will get too chilly however, like Perry, he has issues.
“I’ve heard good issues, but it surely’s virtually like they’re bribing us to make use of them,” he mentioned, noting the media protection of the shelters’ new facilities.
“It’s a little higher than (The Bedford MacDonald Home) and different locations, however you continue to can’t belief them.”
Will mentioned the Bedford MacDonald Home additionally had lockers for storage on the shelter, however as a result of not one of the lockers had locks, issues have been usually taken from individuals’s baggage.
For now, Will mentioned he intends to remain on the encampment and proceed to work on the makeshift winter shelter being constructed on the grounds. Nevertheless, he mentioned he has heard rumours the encampment’s time is operating out.
Discover to vacate
Throughout a go to to the encampment on Dec. 1, Dave MacDonald, a resident residing on the grounds, advised SaltWire Community he was advised there can be a two-week transitional interval after the Park Avenue shelters opened however wasn’t certain if that meant they wouldn’t be capable to keep there any longer.
When requested if the province meant to take away these staying on the encampment from the grounds, Cole confirmed that was the plan.
“People who’re residing at or are accessing the encampment space have been supplied with discover that when Park Avenue was open and operating, there can be a little bit of a grace interval of a pair weeks when it’s anticipated that everybody would vacate the encampment space,” mentioned Cole.
Whereas she couldn’t say what would occur to those that stayed past, Cole mentioned “we’re inside per week of that point.”
For MacDonald, who can be making an attempt to finish the makeshift winter shelter on the encampment, that information adjustments nothing.
“I’m going to proceed doing what I’m doing, and I’ll simply need to cope with them after they come, I assume. I’m not going to cease,” he mentioned.
Cody McEachern is a enterprise reporter with the SaltWire Community in Prince Edward Island. He might be reached by e mail at [email protected] and adopted on Twitter @CodyInHiFi.