Business owners in downtown Moncton, N.B., say they’re becoming even more concerned about the number of homeless people in the area.

The city and its partners are taking action to help get people off the street and into the appropriate outreach programs.

At last count, the number of people sleeping on the streets in Moncton was 120.

The COVID-19 pandemic is partially to blame.

“After people started to come back to downtown to work, we found that there was a large program with social issues happening downtown,” says Anne Poirier Basque, executive director of Downtown Moncton Centre-Ville Inc. “There was a lot of vagrancy, there was a lot of people sleeping on the streets, in the alleys.”

So the city, along with other stakeholders, launched a number of initiatives to tackle the situation, like around-the-clock security in certain areas of the downtown.

Two tandem teams made up of bylaw enforcement officers and RCMP community officers will also be on patrol.

“The ultimate goal is to get help to these homeless people, vulnerable population, and to offer them the proper services that are needed,” says Moncton Fire Chief Conrad Landry,

Signage will be going up in all city parks outlining the rules.

“Make sure your dog is tied, no profane language and no bullying, no drugs or alcohol, the park closes at 10 p.m. and it’s not a camper, you can’t put a tent in a park,” says Landry of some of those park rules.

The city is also conducting a review of the installation of closed circuit cameras in the downtown.

How many cameras and at what cost is still being discussed.

“These cameras, I understand, you can move them so if there’s a hotspot somewhere, they can move the CCTV,” says Poirier Basque.

Discussions are also underway with the provincial and federal government to assist with increasing the availability of affordable housing.