The City Motel In Fredericton has received approval from the city’s planning advisory commission to become an affordable housing project this spring.
The John Howard Society will likely use this project to replace the out-of-the-cold shelter located in the city's downtown.
When completed, the project will convert the third floor of the hotel into 20 affordable units. The second floor will feature 12 peer-supported units for those requiring assistance, and the lower floor will house 24 individuals as an emergency shelter.
“I really like the fact that mental health services are being incorporated into the City Motel,” said Tanya Cloutier, a council member from Canterbury working with the We Care Center supporting Fredericton homeless.
However, Cloutier worries that the closing of out-of-the-cold will leave the city still short on beds, and that there is a more immediate need to house homeless individuals.
“We need immediate shelter in the time between now and the opening of the City Motel so people are not sleeping on the streets all winter,” Cloutier explained.
Warren Maddox operates three shelters in downtown Fredericton and also views the City Motel as a positive move in the long-term plan to combat homelessness.
“The City Motel is a massive step,” Maddox said, believing that the wide variety of services under one roof is useful for efficiently caring for many individuals.
Maddox also sees further positive developments in the city, and believes that these steps will help provide more avenues for individuals to take the first step toward getting off the street.
“The City of Fredericton is also about to create a by-law framework to allow rooming houses city-wide,” Maddox explained.
However, Maddox believes each step taken in Fredericton to broaden the scope of assistance is a positive development to helping a wide variety of individual needs.
“The reality is there will always be homelessness and people in crisis situations,” said Maddox.
It is unclear when this by-law framework will come to pass. Fredericton’s homelessness advocates certainly hope the good news is nearby.