Mon­treal open­ing a win­ter home­less shel­ter

Montreal Times - - News - By Bon­nie Wurst mtl­times.ca

Apub­lic out­cry arose when late last Novem­ber on a cold and frigid night, Chris­tian, a home­less man, was un­able to find any place to go with his dog Buddy, who was shiv­er­ing badly in the record break­ing tem­per­a­ture of -16C and ended up dy­ing in his arms that night. The City of Mon­treal has al­ready been tak­ing steps to­wards tack­ling the prob­lem of home­less­ness and has just an­nounced they will be open­ing a spe­cial win­ter shel­ter for those liv­ing on the streets, hope­fully within two weeks. It is good news in­deed, but un­for­tu­nately too late for Buddy.

Ac­cord­ing to Mon­treal city Coun­cilor Rosan­nie Fi­lato, who is re­spon­si­ble for the home­less, they are look­ing for a place where peo­ple can even­tu­ally go for more than just a night in a warm bed. The old Royal Vic­to­ria Hos­pi­tal build­ing, where they could open up at least 80 beds for now, is se­ri­ously be­ing con­sid­ered.The plan is to have an area for men and an­other area for women and a place for those with their an­i­mals. The Wel­come Hall Mis­sion, Mai­son du Pere, Ac­cueil Bon­neau and the Old Brew­ery Mis­sion will work to­gether to man­age it.

It es­ti­mated there are 2,500 to 3,500 home­less peo­ple on the streets in Mon­treal on any given night - and why the city's goal goes be­yond just the 80 beds.They are hop­ing to of­fer a wider range of ser­vices, work­ing to­gether with com­mu­nity groups and health of­fi­cials. Last March, Mon­treal an­nounced a $7.8 mil­lion project to im­prove the plight of the home­less. It in­cludes plans for a new 'wet shel­ter' (where al­co­holics liv­ing on the streets will be able to get help to man­age their al­co­holism and gain ac­cess to longert­erm care), 950 more hous­ing units over the next three years for those who want to get off the street, more re­sources for those on the street, tools to pro­mote so­cial in­clu­sion, as well as more safety at Wel­come Cen­tres.

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