City partners with The Salvation Army to provide emergency shelter

The City of Fredericton will install a backup generator at The Salvation Army Community Church at 531 St. Mary’s Street in order to provide an emergency shelter and reception centre for city residents.

The generator is expected to cost $230,000 to install and up to $5,000 annually to operate, depending on maintenance, repair and operating costs.  A 10-year Long-Term Emergency Shelter Service Agreement has been approved between the City and The Salvation Army.  The agreement may be extended for two additional terms of 10 years each.

The next step in the process is to tender the purchase and installation of the generator, which is expect to be in place by the summer of this year.  The agreement allows The Salvation Army to use the generator during short-term power outages.

“Through our emergency measures group the need for an emergency shelter was identified,” said Mayor Mike O’Brien.  “The Salvation Army has been a long-standing EMO partner for the City of Fredericton and their facility is more than adequate to satisfy our immediate and future needs.  We are glad to partner with them to keep our residents safe.”

“The Salvation Army has a long history of ministering to the needs of humanity,” said Major Ron Stuckless of The Salvation Army.  “We reach out to others and care for them in many settings, including through our emergency shelter and emergency disaster service programs.  This partnership is simply an extension of our faith and community service here in Fredericton.”

Prompted by the power outages experienced during Post Tropical Storm Arthur, the City’s Emergency Measures Operations (EMO) group set out to find a space large enough to use as an emergency shelter that could house up to 100 people overnight, and feed approximately 200 to 400 people three times a day.  The facility would also need appropriate washroom and shower facilities.

City staff began by reviewing the suitability of Willie O’Ree Place and the Grant•Harvey Centre.  That analysis revealed the buildings are not suited to serve as emergency shelters where people would sleep and get fed.  They do, however, function very well as charging and warming/cooling centres, as well as locations to take showers or access bulk water.

As that review was underway, the City was approached by The Salvation Army with a proposal to consider their facility as an emergency shelter, as well as a temporary reception centre in the eventuality that City facilities were without power.

The Salvation Army facility has a sanctuary, gymnasium, food bank, meeting rooms, counselling offices, and full commercial kitchen facilities.  It can sleep up to 80 people and serve 250 to 350 people three meals per day.  The church has an established working relationship with the Red Cross, and can reach out to other churches of The Salvation Army for additional assistance if needed.