Roaming: “Winter comes back every year, but it's always a mess”

Roaming: “Winter comes every year, but it’s always a mess”

Workers at the Chez Doris shelter welcome a homeless woman who comes to spend the night there.

As winter begins, several community organizations are criticizing the inadequacy of the plan deployed in Montreal to help homeless people. In their sights, decision-making that does not reflect the reality on the ground, and which is fiercely lacking in anticipation.

“Winter measures are always put in place too late in the year. […] There are going to be deaths, it’s not a question of if there will be, but when. […] It is time for the City to open places 24/7, 365 days a year and not only when there are deaths, ”says Annie Archambault, outreach worker for people experiencing homelessness. .

A question that will also be found in the Blue Room. Québec solidaire (QS) in turn denounces a lack of planning for emergency measures. The party is calling for the creation of more places in emergency accommodation for this winter. Above all, he blames the Coalition avenir Québec (CAQ) for the current situation.

“While winter comes back every year, it's always a mess when it approaches, says Manon Massé, co-porter -word of QS. We do not have a winter emergency plan. Calls for tenders are launched in September, [under] conditions that put [community] groups in difficulty. It doesn't make sense,” she says.

It should be noted that the plan unveiled in November by the CIUSSS du Centre-Sud-de-l'Île-de-Montréal and the City of Montreal provides for 1,623 places in emergency accommodation services (SHU) and throughout the year.

A lack of emergency-lodging places

A total of $150 million will be deployed over five years for this plan. A “first step” which remains well below the real needs on the ground. “In 2018, when counting PSI, the City counted 3,500 people, and that was only people experiencing visible homelessness. […] Today, I would double this figure and I would add more for hidden homelessness,” agrees Ms. Archambault.

The Legault government has invested $280 million in its 2021-2026 Interdepartmental Homelessness Action Plan. The latter provides for many measures to prevent homelessness, but does not go far enough according to Québec solidaire.

“In this plan, there are excellent elements. But the way to get there is to plan, to give the means to the organizations on the ground to open accommodation places in a sustainable way. […] It's not just a roof that it takes, it takes real support, ”believes the supportive co-spokesperson. Yes, the CAQ has done things, she acknowledges, but “its measures are not structural enough”.

The Member for Sainte-Marie–Saint-Jacques thus calls the Minister for Social Services, Lionel Carmant, to set up “a lot more” emergency accommodation for this winter, but above all, to “adequately fund the organizations that do the work for them”.

“We need a policy fight against homelessness with different axes that recognizes the strength of the diversity of approaches on the ground. Organizations deserve to have mission funding so that stakeholders work on their mission rather than looking for money to do it,” she insists.

Previous Article
Next Article

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *