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Quebec invests $9.7M in Montreal’s emergency homeless shelter services

Click to play video: 'Quebec funds creation of 200 emergency shelter beds as cold weather hits'
Quebec funds creation of 200 emergency shelter beds as cold weather hits
WATCH: The homeless crisis in Montreal is a priority for many as winter approaches. The Quebec government is investing more than $9 million to help the city of Montreal add nearly 200 emergency shelter beds. As Global's Elizabeth Zogalis reports, the funds will also allow some existing shelters to provide more services. – Nov 3, 2023

The Quebec government is giving over $9 million to help the city of Montreal add nearly 200 emergency shelter beds. The money will also allow some shelters to provide 24-7  services.

There are more than 4,500 visible homeless people in the city, according to the provincial government’s latest head count done in October 2022.

“Half of the amount of money coming from the government of Quebec comes to Montreal,” Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante said. “Half the homeless people are actually here in Montreal and we want to take care of them.”

Click to play video: 'The majority of unhoused campers evicted from Montreal overpass still without shelter'
The majority of unhoused campers evicted from Montreal overpass still without shelter

There are currently 1,800 emergency beds across the city. In the short term, the money will be used to create 188 more beds in existing organizations,  but more permanent solutions are coming in the long term.

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“The focus and the emphasis that I’m hearing on permanent housing is something that we’ve advocated for a very long time,” Welcome Hall Mission CEO Sam Watts said.

“Social Services Minister Lionel Carmant says the long-term plan aims to create more 24-7 services and to help those living on the streets reintegrate into permanent supportive housing.

“This is the way to go. Because it’s a complex situation and people need to be accompanied through housing,” said Carmant. “We are going to see about 200 of them in the next few weeks, but if you look over the next year there may be 500 or more coming.”

Click to play video: 'Housing crisis affecting Montreal North shelter for asylum seekers'
Housing crisis affecting Montreal North shelter for asylum seekers

Many housing advocates say it’s a major step in the right direction but specialized services are needed more than ever.

“There is an increasing number of what we would refer to as complex cases where we need to develop actual responses actual solutions for that,” Watts said.

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Better protocols are also needed when dealing with encampments and evictions, according to James Hughes, the CEO and president of the Old Brewery Mission.

“One that is much more humane and respectful, that is not simply coercive,” Hughes said.

Friday’s announcement comes less than a week before Quebec’s finance minister makes his economic update.

Eric Girard has already mentioned that tackling homelessness will be one of his priorities.

Click to play video: 'Seniors plead for better housing protection under Quebec’s Bill 31'
Seniors plead for better housing protection under Quebec’s Bill 31

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