'It's frustrating and sad that I can't enjoy my own home,' Moncton resident says

Krista Conners and her husband Nathan live within walking distance of the House of Nazareth, Moncton's newest homeless shelter on Albert Street.

Krista says their once quiet neighbourhood has experienced one problem after another since the shelter first opened in 2019.

"If we haven't called the cops in a week, that's a good week," Conners says.

She says people are constantly walking through their yard, taking part in alcohol and drug use, and even breaking into houses in the area. She says she's written multiple letters to the city, councillors, and the province hoping for change.

"It's frustrating and sad that I can't enjoy my own home," Conners says. "I can't sit on my back deck and read a book without being nervous that someone is going to walk through my yard, that someone is going to try and break into my home or one of my neighbour's homes."

Jamie Boushel says he has similar concerns. He owns a tavern just steps from the shelter and says this will be the third summer in a row he'll be dealing with the constant disruptions from the residents who use the shelter's services.

"We realize it's a very vulnerable population that needs help, and people need help," says Boushel. "We're not saying they can't get that, we're not even saying they can't get that here, we just want fairness across the board. There's got to be a give and take with it, there (needs) to be rules."

The shelter's acting president, Damien Dauphin, says the organization has experienced many difficulties since its opening, including the former executive director, Jean Dubé, suddenly resigning earlier this year.

The most recent bump in the road being the province of New Brunswick forcing the organization to make changes after the Office of the Comptroller completed a thorough audit; of which the results will not be made public.

Still, Dauphin insists the shelter is working on the issues surrounding safety in the area, adding a security company was hired six weeks ago.

"Since then the calls to police have dropped about 90 per cent, so it works. Actually, Albert Street is now a more safer place and it's going to be in the future I think an, even more, safer place for everyone," says Dauphin.

For Conners, the efforts simply aren't enough.

"They have a by-law in place for loitering and panhandling but I feel like it needs to be enhanced, and other levels of that have to be added to discourage the tent sites, to discourage the drug usage, to discourage going onto other people's property."

A general meeting, made mandatory by the province, will be held tonight at the Arts and Culture Center in Dieppe. Dauphin says a new board of directors is expected to be elected at the meeting.