Homeless freezing to death | “She was a very endearing woman”

The homeless man was found dead early Thursday morning near the Berri-UQAM subway station. This is Stella Stosik, 64 years old. She died as polar temperatures hit Montreal. Speakers who have been around her remember a free, gentle, intelligent woman.

Posted at 6:00 a.m.

Coralie Laplante

Coralie Laplante
The Press

“It was a shock wave,” says Ann-Gaël Whiteman, coordinator of Maison Jacqueline for the organization La rue des femmes, in an interview with The Press.

Stella Stosik had been attending his organization for 16 years. “She was really anchored in La rue des femmes, we were her family, says Mme Whiteman. It was her home, like many of our wives. »

The homeless man was found around 1 a.m. Thursday at the corner of rue Saint-Denis and boulevard De Maisonneuve. She succumbed to cardiorespiratory arrest, the cause of which is unknown at this time. The file was transferred to the coroner’s office.

Very little was known about his life. She was very secretive. She often told me that she was a dancer. She did classical ballet when she was young.

Ann-Gaël Whiteman, coordinator of Maison Jacqueline

Stella was well liked by her peers, despite her rather solitary temperament. “She was a woman with a lot of character, a lot of humor. She was also sweet,” says M.me Whiteman.

Mélanie Miller, a former speaker at La rue des femmes, also has fond memories of the deceased. “Stella was an educated woman. She came from a Westmount family,” she told The Press. “When we spoke with her, it was always very interesting,” she adds.

She said she was very saddened by Stella’s death. she was always smiling,” she said.

He was “an outstanding person, joyful, funny, so lively, a really humble person too, with a big heart. It’s a great loss for our community,” says Sarah Chouinard Poirier, former worker at La rue des femmes, currently a harm reduction worker.

More resources needed

The death of Stella Stosik is not the first to occur in the homelessness community this winter. On January 10, a 74-year-old man who lived in a camp lost his life during a cold snap.

The finding among the workers interviewed by The Press is unanimous: more roaming resources are needed.

“Unfortunately, despite all the efforts made, there are not enough resources to meet the adapted needs of the different types of homeless populations,” says Annie Savage, director of the Network for the Assistance of Single and Homeless People. from Montreal. The needs of young people, people who use drugs and women must be particularly considered, she said.

Unfortunately, we have to realize that this will require additional permanent resources, developed precisely to meet the needs of people who are currently underserved.

Annie Savage, Director of the Network for the Alone and Homeless People of Montreal

She believes that the City of Montreal must do more to meet the needs of people who do not go to shelters.

“Sometimes, it’s true, there are people who won’t go into traditional resources,” says Annie Savage.

Sarah Chouinard Poirier said she was unhappy with the comments heard and read in the public space following the death of Stella Stosik.

“The problem is that there are some people who don’t want to end up in the shelters as they are right now,” she explains. We need plural answers, which put people, and people like Stella, who have different needs, at the heart of the reflection. »

“People who use substances have the right to be warm anyway, even if they are intoxicated,” she continues. If we want to avoid deaths, we have to find solutions that adapt to people. »

Ann-Gaël Whiteman hopes for her part that the deaths that occurred in the middle of homelessness this winter will not be forgotten.

“People experiencing homelessness, we see them, but they are still in a certain invisibility where people don’t look at them too much, or look at them with a lot of judgment. I hope that their death and the death of Stella will not remain invisible, and that it will be used for something to protect the others”, she concludes.

With the collaboration of Henri Ouellette-Vézina and Alice Girard-Bossé, The Press

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