Grace House to open its new shelter

The women’s homeless shelter in Fredericton, Grace House, is getting ready to open a new house next door. The shelter raised about $80-thousand in donations for the second building.

Grace House is a shelter accommodating women who are 17 years and older, it is also the only one working with transgender women in the city.

The Canadian Homelessness Research Network says that around 200,000 Canadians experience homelessness in any given year, and at least 150,000 use a homeless shelter at some point of their lives.

Warren Maddox, the executive director of the Fredericton Homeless Shelters, said any women who is in need is welcome there, and the first step is to ring the doorbell.

“You come in, and do sort of a brief interview and it gives us the ability to capture some data on you (…) and if everything checks out, then you’re signed a bed and we leave you alone for a day or so and we start meeting to start talking about what’s next,” Maddox said.

The house can hold up to 13 people. Each woman can stay in the house for 90 days, to stabilize, help them rebuild their lives and move them away from the marginalized society. Maddox says that if they are not able to do it within 90 days, they will not be kicked out of the house.

To ease accommodations for both the residents and the staff, a new house is under construction right now. From the money to the renovations, everything in the house is only possible because of donations.

Grace House

Maddox says the new house project started because of the J.T Clark Family Foundation and a conversation with John Clark last year. Their agreement was: if the shelter raised $40 thousand, the Foundation would match the rest.

“And we said okay. Took us about six months to get the original 40 thousand and we went back to the foundation in September and said we got it. They sent us a check of 40 thousand plus the 41 thousand that we raised and we had some additional funding coming since then. So the project is completely founded by this point.”

Another key contributor to the project was The Fredericton Direct Charge Co-Op, alone the institution donated $20 thousand.

The new house will accommodate the same number of people, however, it will have more space, more bathrooms and more resource area.

Warren Maddox and Prashma GC.
Warren Maddox and Prashma GC.

Grace House’s manager, Prashma GC says this project is a great example of how a community can get together and help.

“There are a few updates in the new house which I’m excited about. We will be able to have more space for storage, which we lack over here. We’ll have more space for staff,” she says. “We’ll have more bathrooms, which is great, because when we have ten residents in the house, it gets really hectic.”

The renovations, which started in July, are expected to be ready next month. However, it doesn’t stop there. After the New Grace House is ready, the shelter will work on making a transition house where the old house is located.

“You leave the shelter, you come into a secondary stage housing, buys you a bit more time, allows you to adjust budget wise and then from this stage, they’ll move on into their own houses,” said Maddox.