Tent city in downtown Fredericton houses 15 to 20 residents
A newer tent city has popped up in downtown Fredericton near the Government House and the Riverfront Walking Trail.
A shopping cart sits next to the encampment as an unofficial donations drop-off, where people have been leaving recyclables and goods for about 15 to 20 residents.
“Pretty well every day, we get something – water, sandwiches,” said tent city coordinator and resident, Don Mcleod.
Mcleod has been living in the encampment for about six weeks after a couple stays at local shelters. He says the new tent city was created after the emergency out-of-the-cold shelter closed.
Being such an unregulated environment, there are issues the residents in the camps have to deal with.
“Keeping people out of other people’s tents, and greed would be the worst problem we have,” said Mcleod.
People staying there say although the heat can make it difficult on their day-to-day lives, it’s the rainy days that make things more challenging.
“It consumes a couple hours a day just drying stuff out and then trying to get it put away before it gets caught in the next storm,” explained Mcleod. “Some stuff never gets dried out.”
Mcleod says residents would welcome more donations of large plastic bins, cold water, and towels.
“I discovered the tent city because I walk the path all the time and that’s when I became aware of it, and the people here,” said donor, June Wolstenholme.
Wolstenholme has a hammock coming from Nova Scotia for a female resident living in tent city, and she plans to also return with hygiene products and tarps.
She says those who live in these types of environments are often misunderstood.
“They are a great group of people and sometimes, they get a bad reputation which they shouldn’t have,” said Wolstenholme.
“There are some really nice people who work in this field, trying to help Fredericton with its homeless problem,” said Mcleod. “I didn’t think I’d encounter that, and so much of it, so quickly.”