More than $21 million to be given to Montreal communities to fight poverty, social exclusion

Click to play video: 'Centraide funding to foster more community initiatives in Montreal neighbourhoods'
Centraide funding to foster more community initiatives in Montreal neighbourhoods
WATCH: In a move to help fight poverty and social exclusion in the greater Montreal area, Centraide is providing local communities with $21.5M over the next five years. The money will go to 32 Montreal neighbourhoods that will help create initiatives with the aim of improving living conditions including access to food and housing. Global’s Felicia Parrillo reports. – Apr 27, 2022

Paule & Émard isn’t your typical grocery store.

It’s actually the former garage of a non-profit organization and is about 600 square feet.

The store was born out of a need to provide fresh food locally and is filled with everything: dairy products, fresh fruit and vegetables, meats and fish, non-perishable food items, all at low prices and in a neighbourhood that didn’t have access to any.

The store is run by la Maison d’Entraide St. Paul & Emard, an organization whose mission is to help lower-income citizens in their community.

“We knew we had to open a place where we could facilitate the access to fresh food to the neighbourhood,” said Marcela Cid, executive director at La Maison d’Entraide St. Paul & Emard.

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The market is open to everyone, but closed on Mondays, so that 90 families, who are clients of the organization, can shop here and get their food at a 60-per cent discount.

The store is part of a vast project aimed at fighting food insecurity among families and isolated or vulnerable people.

It’s one of the dozens of initiatives made possible through Centraide’s collective impact project.

Centraide is an organization with a mission to fight social issues like poverty and social exclusion.

“The approach is a very bottom-up approach, where you can think of neighbourhoods thinking about solutions to problems they have and coming together in order to tackle those social issues,” said Claude Pinard, president and CEO of Centraide of Greater Montreal.

In its first phase, the collective impact project helped create initiatives in 17 different neighbourhoods.

On Wednesday, it announced phase two, which means a new investment of  $21.5 million spread out across the existing neighbourhoods plus 15 new communities.

For organizations like La Maison d’Entraide, that kind of financing means concrete change.

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“I feel we are able to make transformation in society,” said Cid. “I feel we can be able to reach goals that we have a long time that we see needs in the neighbourhood and this kind of financing helps us work together and find the best answer to those needs.”

Cid said the organization will reapply for more funding with the announcement of phase two.

The money, she says, will go towards paying staff, finding more volunteers, and extending the hours of the store, to help better serve the community.

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