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COVID-19: transition plan - Opening of three emergency shelter sites and stable residence services for homeless persons in Montréal

27 août 2020

Montréal, le 27 août 2020 - Mayor Valérie Plante, the minister for health and social services, Lionel Carmant, and the minister for the metropolis and the Montréal region, Chantal Rouleau, have announced today the opening of three sites meant to provide shelter for Montréal's homeless persons until March 31, 2021. They will be located in the former Royal Victoria hospital, the Complexe Guy-Favreau and the former YMCA, in Mercier–Hochelaga-Maisonneuve borough.

The announcement was made today at the former Royal Victoria hospital, in the presence of  Sonia Bélanger, CEO of the CIUSSS du Centre-Sud-de-l'Île-de-Montréal (CCSMTL), of Samuel Watts, CEO of the Welcome Hall Mission, of Heather Johnston, executive director of Projets Autochtones du Québec, and of Isabelle Piché, general manager of the CAP St‑Barnabé.

To support homeless persons during the peak of the pandemic, the urban agglomeration of Montréal, the healthcare and social services system, as well as community-based partners had rolled out exceptional measures to make up for the closing of certain community resources and for the repercussion of health directives on shelters. Temporary shelters were set up in arenas and centres, but those facilties are now gradually resuming their regular activities. In preparation for the closing of those temporary resources and the partial resumption of traditional emergency shelter services, the urban agglomeration's emergency coordination centre (CCMU) and the CCSMTL have developed a transition plan in collaboration with the RAPSIM, the MMFIM and Montréal's Indigenous Advisory Circle.

The transition plan includes the opening of the three shelters announced today, providing 850 spots for homeless Montrealers. This winter, 200 highly accessible beds will be available to both men and women, at a location that remains to be confirmed. Partners also continue to work to meet a wide range of needs. 

●      Since early July, nearly 200 spots are provided at the former Royal Victoria hospital. Organizations such as the Welcome Hall Mission and the Old Brewery Mission, in collaboration with the Maison du Père, have been managing the four floors sheltering both men and women, including a floor for those awaiting their COVID screening results, or who have tested positive for COVID-19 (in collaboration with the mental health and addiction department of the CCSMTL). There is also a floor sheltering women under the supervision of the Chaînon and the Patricia Mackenzie Pavillion.

●      Since August 19, under the management of Projets autochtones du Québec (PAQ), the Complexe Guy-Favreau has been offering some 50 beds providing highly accessible emergency shelter for homeless Indigenous and Inuit persons.

●      As of August 31, under the management of the CAP Saint-Barnabé and CARE Montréal, the former Hochelaga YMCA will provide highly accessible emergency shelter to 65 people. Both organizations will also offer new spots on their own sites, including an area reserved for youth. 

●      What's more, certain traditional shelters are also increasing their capacity.  

●      Finally, some 200 homeless persons will receive personalized support and help finding a home, as part of the rent supplementation program offered by the Société d'habitation du Québec.

 

Quotes

Valérie Plante, Mayor of Montréal:

“Since the beginning of this pandemic, the urban agglomeration of Montréal, the healthcare system and community organizations have managed to prevent the current health crisis from becoming a humanitarian crisis, by creating temporary shelter and food services as part of emergency measures. By opening three new shelters, Montréal and its partners continue to work towards providing a roof, a meal and quality support to Montréal's homeless population, despite the challenges the pandemic will pose over the upcoming months.”

 

Lionel Carmant, minister for health and social services:

“Since the beginning of the health crisis, the CIUSSS du Centre-Sud-de-l'Île-de-Montréal has been working in close collaboration with Montréal, public health authorities and community partners to ensure a quick, inclusive and progressive response for homeless persons.  As part of the “'Instance stratégique en itinérance”, the ministry of health and social services has provided unwavering support. Exceptional work has paved the way for a gradual shift from the emergency measures taken these past few months, towards new, structuring projects. Our actions will continue to evolve, namely according to the health crisis and winter measures.”

 

Samuel Watts, CEO of the Welcome Hall Mission, and Matthew Pearce, current CEO of the Old Brewery Mission

“The initiative put in place at the former Royal Victoria Hospital by the Welcome Hall Mission and the Old Brewery Mission reflects our mutual commitment to working with our counterparts who provide services to vulnerable persons, the healthcare system and the city in order to come up with solutions. The objective is to help homeless people find a permanent home, thus putting an end to chronic homelessness in Montréal.”   

 

Heather Johnston, general manager of Projets autochtones du Québec:

“The COVID-19 pandemic has been difficult for everyone, but it has been particularly challenging for those who do not have a home where they can isolate safely, or a kitchen to prepare a meal in. For them, these past few months have been most overwhelming. The opening of the highly accessible emergency shelter at Complexe Guy-Favreau will enable us to provide 48 beds in full compliance with public health directives. We will also continue to offer a unique space, adapted to the cultural reality of Montréal's indigenous homeless population.”

 

Michel Monette, general manager of Care Montréal and Isabelle Piché, general manager of CAP St-Barnabé:

“The CAP-Care shelter is the result of a partnership between two organizations, but above all, it stems from the impressive joint effort by the city, Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve borough, the healthcare system and community organizations. Starting on August 31, a neighborhood project will provide safe shelter to 65 men and women who will have a place to sleep, eat, and receive support adapted to their needs.”