A newly-appointed board member for Moncton’s largest emergency homeless shelter hopes those at the helm now can improve the operation.
“There’s a growing need for services rendered by Maison Nazareth,” Robert Goguen says. “But there certainly are some I guess, for lack of better words, growing pains.”
An interim executive director and a new board of directors, including Goguen, were appointed for the House of Nazareth at its first annual general meeting in nearly two years Monday night.
Previous executive director Jean Dube announced his resignation, providing six-months notice, in January.
Damien Dauphin, who replaced Nicolas Parisi as board president after his passing in April, is also no longer part of the board.
There were some re-elections Monday, but the board is mostly made up of new voices now.
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“The issues are well-known, I mean there are issues internally about organization and transparency, there’s issues with delivery of service and interaction with the community causing issues, and there are better solutions,” Goguen says. “I know with all the community organizations that are at hand, and working together, there’s got to be a better way.”
“When there comes a point that there’s more shopping carts on the road than there are cars, you know that there’s a need for services,” he says.
Concerns started with a delayed opening at House of Nazareth’s Albert Street location, the shelter’s management, and its financials.
Jeremy Trevors, a department of social development spokesperson, told Global News in May the audit was requested by the province to “ensure that this organization has long-term sustainability by adopting healthier accounting and management practices.”
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“As the Department of Social Development and the House of Nazareth both receive public funding, both parties have an obligation to provide sound and responsible financial and resource management,” the statement continues.
Yvon Lapierre was asked to chair the meeting Monday as a “private citizen,” not in his role as Dieppe’s mayor.
“[The election] will bring a bit of new and a bit of old, but all of it together, I’m sure will be much-improved governance at House of Nazareth,” Lapierre says.
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Someone else hoping for the best is Trevor Goodwin, the senior director for YMCA of Greater Moncton’s outreach services program.
Goodwin and his team work to help homeless people, including shelter clients.
He hopes the public can begin rebuilding trust in the shelter.
“I’m very pleased to see some resignations and some change-up on the board, and I was even more excited to have Zineb [Elouad, the organization’s accountant] announced as that new interim executive director,” Goodwin says. “I think that they have the right skills and abilities, they just… have that freedom now.”
The shelter relocated from its Clark Street property after fire, which was deemed arson, in February 2020.
$480,000 of taxpayer money was invested by the provincial and federal governments for the shelter’s Albert Street location in May of 2019.
A new board president is expected to be named within the next two weeks.
Jean Dubé did not respond to a text and phone call Tuesday.
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