Fredericton — On Friday crews dismantled the “tent city” where many homeless people were living behind Old Government House, leaving the residents no choice but to move on and try to find alternative shelter.
“Their tents are being torn down for their own safety…is what I’ve been told to say — so the least we can do is give them another option,” said Fran Proctor of the provincial Department of Social Justice. “We can’t bulldoze their homes and say, ‘Try your luck every single day at the shelters, if they’re not at capacity.’ It’s heartless.
“I mean we could theoretically mind our own business, live and let live and all that, but for whatever reason the government can’t allow the homeless to exist in peace. I think it’s bad for tourism? Yeah, that sounds right.”
We interviewed a nearby Frederictonian who confirmed this hunch.
“You know how annoying and unsettling it is when you’re walking down the street and a homeless person asks you for money?” said Sarah Jeffries, 34. “Well the tent city is like that, times 100, so it has to deter potential visitors to Fredericton. I assume, anyway — I never actually went near that area. Too scary. Good that they’re getting rid of it.
“Brr, it’s so cold out here!” she exclaimed before darting into her idling Lexus.
One city councillor — who asked for anonymity — said her house is off-limits to anyone but her immediate family, but that her boat is available during the winter months.
“We’ll need it back for summer, but right now, if you’re desperate and you can manage to find transportation to the yacht club and somehow figure out which vessel is mine and somehow get into it, then you’ve earned the right to a night’s sleep on the boat! Just clean up after yourself and don’t touch my booze stash and make sure you spread the word about my generosity around town. Easy!”
With Fredericton apartment vacancy rates at an all-time low and rent prices at an all-time high, the chances of homeless people getting back on their feet are getting slimmer every day.
“People working two jobs can barely afford an apartment with heat, so for these people, things really aren’t looking good. But many of us government employees have nice, warm houses, extra beds and more than we need to get by,” said another city councillor who also wished to remain anonymous lest anyone actually figure out his identity.
“We should spread the wealth around a bit. Together my wife and I make $180K a year, our kids moved away and I have three spare bedrooms, two bathrooms with showers, tons of food. Anyone who wants to stay with me is welcome to do so!” he bellowed, before whispering, “…You’re not going to publish my address, right?”