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Montreal vows to protect homeless, names first ombudsman

WATCH ABOVE: Serge Lareault has been named the city's first advisor when it comes to homelessness issues in the city.

MONTREAL – The city has named its first ombudsman, whose goal is to take care of the homeless population in Montreal.

Serge Lareault will act as the city’s advisor when it comes to homeless-related issues across the island.

He has been working with the homeless for over twenty years as head of community organization L’Itinéraire.

Mikael Theimer's project Humans of the Street seeks to raise awareness on the issue of homelessness in Montreal through photographic portraits and videos.
A photo from Mikael Theimer’s project Humans of the Street, which seeks to raise awareness on the issue of homelessness in Montreal through photographic portraits and videos. Mikael Theimer/Humans of the Street

Lareault’s first priority as ombudsman will be to educate city workers and police officers on developing strategies to help, rather than arrest, those living on the street.

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“In a city like Montreal, the relations are really not good. It’s important to develop a vision at the [Montreal police] to be sure that they are there to help the homeless and not to arrest them,” Lareault said.

Recent figures estimate there are more than 3,000 homeless people in Montreal.

Lareault will be Coderre’s right-hand-man when it comes to issues of homelessness in the city and will be given complete autonomy.

The city is looking to reduce that number by two-thirds by 2020.

WATCH: Tackling homelessness in Montreal