The new temporary Cabot Square day shelter for the homeless opened up amid the COVID-19 crisis in Montreal, but staff are still waiting for personal protective materials such as masks and gloves.
The City of Montreal announced a state of emergency Friday in order to relocate resources for the homeless and join forces with community partners like Resilience Montreal who are running the Cabot Square shelter.
Resilience Montreal founder Nakuset said her most pressing request from public health officials has been for masks and gloves, as her staff and volunteers are currently working without these protective materials.
“You go to the hospitals and they’re wearing all the protective gear,” she said. “Front-line workers at Resilience and the Native Women’s Shelter haven’t received it yet.”
According to Nakuset, she asks almost every day when the supplies will arrive. Even though she said she’s been told they are coming, she’s still waiting.
Global News reached out to Montreal Public Health on the issue but did not hear back.
Nakuset said they decided to set up a Cabot Square day shelter after many of the city’s homeless shelters closed due to COVID-19 concerns.
With additional supplies such as chairs, blankets and tents from the city, Nakuset said she hopes the square can be a place where the homeless can have some kind of comfort.
Using the dense grouping of homeless people to inform them about the signs and symptoms of the novel coronavirus, and basic statistics from across Canada.
Envisioning the location to be eventually used as a COVID-19 testing centre for the homeless, Nakuset said it’s more welcoming for people living on the streets than the current public testing drive-thru clinic at Quartier des Spectacles.
With thousands of homeless people expected at Cabot Square daily, Nakuset is asking for donations.
Anything from food to blankets and clothing can be dropped off in the back alley at Resilience Montreal.