People forced from homes in freezing temperatures with 24 hours notice

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People forced from homes in freezing temperatures with 24 hours notice

Some people left quietly piling bags into arriving cars, others were angry, yelling at police and members of the fire department as they tried to figure out what to do, while one man stood quietly at the curb with four reusable grocery bags piled full of his belongings at his feet.

They were all evicted on Friday afternoon with 24 hours notice.

Three buildings were condemned by the Moncton fire department at the corner of Gordon and HIghfield Streets. The properties were purchased just over a month ago by Ashford Investments, for nearly half a million dollars. The company's office is across the street from the condemned homes. People appeared to be watching from the office window, but no one from Ashford Investments would comment on the evictions or the state of the company's properties.

'Nowhere to go'

But residents being forced from their homes were quick to comment. Daniel Roy moved into his apartment with his wife about eight months ago. They were forced from their last home after a fire in another apartment wrecked the building.

"The power's been cut off, we've got nowhere to go," Roy said. 

"It's not right what they're doing to us."

He said he's lived on the streets before, and does not want to go back. 

"It's not that easy to move somewhere else, everything is full and it takes money to move somewhere else."

Hard to find rentals

Nick MacIntyre was also at a loss as to his next move. With his dog Winston at his side, he said it's hard to find affordable rentals, especially one that takes pets.

"I'm not going to take my dog to the SPCA to stay at a shelter."

MacIntyre estimates 13 people were still living in the buildings Friday afternoon. He said the first notice he received about vacating his apartment was Thursday. "Last night at one in the morning when I got off work."

Then today, "they started kicking in doors, whether people were in the properties or not."

MacIntrye said money is tight and having to move is only going to make things worse.

"I have six dollars in my pocket, what am I supposed to do?"

'People are homeless'

Brent Curran is in a similar position. He said his wife died two weeks ago, and now he's being evicted from his home. 

"They just showed up and started doing this, it's ridiculous. We have to get out today, and people are homeless, people have nowhere to go."

Curran hopes to find a place at the nearby men's shelter, Harvest House. 

Crews were on scene measuring, cutting and securing plywood to doors and windows. Charles LeBlanc, division chief of fire prevention at the Moncton fire department said it's a difficult, but necessary step.

Safety jeopardized

"The conditions inside are so deplorable that we feel the safety of the occupants inside is jeopardized. This is a sad day, this is not what we want to do."

LeBlanc said squatters were living in some units and there was evidence of fires being lit for warmth inside one of the buildings.

He wouldn't say who called in the tip about the condition of the building, but he did say buildings' owner was paying to have the houses boarded up and demolished.

Occupants were told they could return on Monday to pick up their belongings. LeBLanc said the buildings would be torn down before the end of the month, but it will likely much sooner.

Roy said he understands that parts of the building may be in bad shape, but asked, "how is it better to be on the streets?"

He said he's been trying to stay positive for his wife, telling her everything is going to work out, "but is it going to be alright, I don't know."