Shelters for the homeless: “Why do we have to act urgently instead of planning?”

The cold spell is causing an increase in traffic in homeless shelters, which have had a busy and difficult weekend.

• Read also: Housing for the homeless: Mike Ward reaches out to Montreal

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At Mission St-Michael’s in Montreal, the number of places has been increased and is now 48 due to the weather, and the shelter was full this weekend.

All the shelters in the city therefore joined forces to find out in real time which places had places available.

“The community has come together to be able to help customers, and I think we manage to do well, but it’s complicated,” explained to LCN the director general of the St-Michael’s Mission, Chantal Laferriere.

However, the shuttle service between the shelters complicates the movement of homeless people, since it is only available in the evening and at night.

“We need daytime transportation to be able to move customers to other resources where there is room,” claims Laferrière.

Many homeless people have a lot of personal belongings, while others have difficulty walking or have frozen feet due to the cold, says the director general of the St. Michael’s Mission.

In addition, Chantal Laferrière believes that the City of Montreal and Public Health are still in “reaction” mode rather than “planning”.

Mme Laferrière mentions in particular that this winter, her heat shelter project was accepted only a week before the time when she was to make it operational.

“Looks like they forgot that every year there is a winter! Why do we need to act urgently instead of planning? Me, that’s my problem,” she says.

Mike Ward’s shelters, good or bad idea?

Saturday, Mike Ward challenged Valérie Plante by offering 25 wooden tents to shelter the homeless.

A proposal that was refused by the mayor of Montreal, calling it a solution ill-suited to the situation.

For Chantal Laferrière, the idea deserves to be studied seriously and could be useful.

“It’s a great initiative and there’s definitely something to do with it,” she says.

“It has to be monitored. There has to be an ecosystem around these tents. It’s complex. It becomes like another resource,” adds the director general of the St-Michael’s Mission.

To see the full interview, watch the video above.


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