Mattresses, couches, garbage bags — items big and small: Montreal’s blue-collar workers are hitting the streets over the next few days in the annual post-moving day cleanup operation.
“We’re dealing with a massive amount of materials on the curb of the street,” city spokesperson Philippe Sabourin said.
City crews with bulldozers and dump trucks are busy removing the mountains of curbside trash left behind by the hundreds of newly housed tenants.
The operation involves picking up an estimated 50,000 tons of trash. Sabourin said it will take two weeks.
“We need the help of everyone: sort your things, bring your materials to the curb of the street only when it’s the appropriate time, then it will help the city with its cleanliness,” Sabourin said.
Sabourin says the city recycles the discarded items and invites residents to do the same at one of the seven Ecocentre drop-off points, with the city’s website serving as a valuable resource in indicating the one closest.
Currently, the city says some 200 families are still without a residence after moving day. That is down from the 600 recorded on July 2.
Thirty-two families are being sheltered in hotels until they find a new home, Sabourin said.
“We are prepared to deal with the situation,” Sabourin said, stating the city has a budget of $3.5 million to provide resources such as hotels and locations for storage of their furniture for low-income families.
The Quebec government announced it will increase a financial assistance program for low-income households starting Oct. 1.
The government also said it would spend $2 million as part of Operation July 1 to help people find housing, and to provide temporary housing and furniture storage for people who can’t find somewhere to live.
According to the province’s housing department, more than 8,000 “social and affordable” housing units have been built, or are under construction, since 2018.
The City of Montreal said it’s waiting for Quebec and Ottawa to reach a funding agreement that will allow it to build or renovate 6,000 social housing units.
Animals without a home
Montreal’s SPCA says it’s dealing with an influx of abandoned pets, taking in 689 animals in the past three months.
The shelter says the animals are all from renters who could not find a new dwelling that allowed pets.
The situation was made more difficult this year, the shelter said, due to low vacancy rates, forcing pet owners to make difficult decisions, spokesperson Anita Kapuscinska said.