A summit on homelessness in September
The Union of Municipalities of Quebec (UMQ) will hold a summit on homelessness in Quebec City on September 15. The purpose of the exercise will be to “decompartmentalize the problem” and to ensure “that everyone talks to each other […] to put themselves in solution mode” about this issue which affects more and more municipalities, explained Thursday the president of the UMQ, Daniel Côté.
Without revealing precisely who would be invited to this summit, Mr. Côté indicated that people from all walks of life would be invited to the event. He also pointed out that “when we talk about homelessness, we often think about it in silos”. “The health people talk to the health people, the municipal people talk to the municipal people, the public safety people who talk to the public safety people and the housing people who talk to the people of the dwelling. At some point, if we want to get out of the problem, we have to decompartmentalize and everyone has to talk to each other. Hence the importance of getting everyone around the same table,” he insisted.
Tired of “begging”
In addition, the president of the committee on homelessness of the UMQ and mayor of Quebec, Bruno Marchand, says he hopes that this event will allow “to obtain results”. “Homelessness is a reality that comes together, regardless of the size of the cities. The status quo is untenable because there is an increase in the number of people in need and there are issues of social cohabitation. If we keep the situation as it is, what we see is just a deterioration of social ties,” he said.
Mr. Marchand also indicated that the Minister responsible for Social Services, Lionel Carmant, would have mentioned in private to municipal elected officials “that there is money left” to fight against homelessness. However, these sums “do not descend on the ground” for “various reasons” obscure. “He is committed to going to find out why and to make it go down. The needs are glaring, the different populations are at the end of their rope and it seems that there is money that is not going down? There is something that is not working!”, indicated the mayor of Quebec who wants “results at the top [of 15 septembre]”.
“The Minister was very surprised by the needs we were talking about and the realities we had. He made it clear that there was money left in all the regions for the regions. How come we don't have them in the middle? When we are in a state of crisis and there is a service about to close, they seem to find a bottom of drawer and they give it to us. We cannot always be begging for the most vulnerable population!” added the mayor of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Andrée Bouchard.