Last October, we assisted Reta and her son find new accommodations because their landlord did not pay his power bill and was facing disconnection. Reta relocated, but a few months later her new landlord called to say he was evicting Reta and her son that day.
The landlord was concerned because Reta was in a wheelchair. We could find temporary accommodation for her son at the Salvation Army but nothing for Reta as the Coverdale Centre had no wheelchair access. The Fredericton shelter was full, but Moncton’s House of Nazareth was able to provide shelter for both Reta and her son.
In collaboration with Coverdale and the Salvation Army we were able to purchase two bus tickets for Reta and her son to the Moncton shelter, who reported their safe arrival.
Without the help of Fresh Start, Reta and her son would have been left out in the cold of winter.
Family of Five in Desperate Need of Help
In February 2014 this family, including three children ages three months, one year and two years called Fresh Start in a desperate state. They lived in New Brunswick housing and the mother’s purse had been stolen. The purse had her just-cashed income assistance cheque, leaving her with no money for rent or food and nothing for her children’s’ needs.
After consulting with Social Development, Income Assistance and housing departments, we were able to secure emergency benefits and assistance for food and all the babies’ needs.
This family would have faced eviction, plus the involvement of Child Protection Services due to the lack of needs for the children.
Five Buildings Without Power
In September 2013, Fresh Start learned of five apartment buildings in West, North and East Saint John, whose landlord had given them one- to-two days notice that their power was being disconnected due to his non-payment of utility bills.
There were 12 tenants affected, including 19 adults and 15 children from ages 70 down to toddlers. After consultation with the Department of Social Development for emergency assistance, we were able to obtain food allowances, emergency hotel stays, rents, damage deposits and moving assistance.
Housing units were offered to some families; other families and individuals were relocated to apartment units. Thankfully Fresh Start was there to help those 34 displaced persons who felt there was no-one to turn to for help.
Amanda – 26 Year-Old Single Mother of Two
In 2013 we received a call from Amanda stating the RCMP had placed her in Hestia House with her eight year-old and three month-old children, due to abuse from her mother and step father. Amanda had only two weeks to find a place to live, plus she only had an income of $910 per month to cover all the needs of her family. Fresh Start found Amanda funding under an Abusive Policy which would cover her rent, damage deposit and household needs.
Due to her financial status we were able to find Amanda accommodation with low-income housing. We also asked for Child Tax Benefits for Amanda, (whose mother had apparently been collecting and keeping for herself for seven years saying that Amanda didn’t qualify). The mother is being investigated for fraud and the Child Tax Benefits have been re-established for Amanda, who, by-the-way, is doing very well.
Jennifer – 22 Year-Old Single Employed Mother of Two
This is another story of a landlord failing to pay his hydro bill and claiming bankruptcy giving only four days notice to his tenants.
Left without power, a full months rent already paid and with no savings, Jennifer came to Fresh Start for help. Our Outreach Worker, Lois, spoke with the Department of Social Development and arranged for emergency assistance. An apartment was found, including partial payment of rent and damage deposit. Jennifer and her children moved in mid-April, 2014.
It was unthinkable to leave this family in a cold, dark apartment until Jennifer could save enough to relocate her family. Thanks to the efforts of Fresh Start, this young family is now safe and warm.