MONTREAL – The fight against homelessness in Quebec is getting a boost from Ottawa.
The federal government is giving the province $17 million over two years to help Québecers better address the issue.
“It’s been a long time coming,” said Nakuset, executive director of the Native Women’s Shelter.
“We know that the issues that are facing homelessness are systemic issues; it’s not just one issue, it’s all kinds.”
The problem seems to get worse over time, especially in the aboriginal community, which represents 10 per cent of the homeless population in Montreal, according to the I Count MTL survey done March 2015.
Community organizations say the federal support – while a long time coming – is coming when it’s very much needed.
“We need something specifically for aboriginal women,” Nakuset said. “This is something that we’ve been trying to do, but because now there’s this extra money, maybe that will push it forward.”
Few details have been made available on where and how the money will be spent in the province.
Montreal and Quebec City will likely see a large portion.
“Montreal has a big reality in homelessness so it’s going to be considered,” Québec’s Public Health Minister Lucie Charlebois said.
This past winter, the municipal government in Montreal outlined a plan in its five-year homelessness strategy, focusing on housing and prevention.
“We’re all talking about it with the experts and we’re all working together to make sure we put the priorities together,” Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre said.
Coderre hinted some of the money will likely go to several community projects that had been approved in the past, but there was no money to execute them.
Officials say there will be more news on allocating the funds in the coming days and weeks.