Montreal opening winter homeless shelter in Old Victoria Hospital?
Homeless shelter in Old Victoria Hospital – A public outcry arose when late last November on a cold and frigid night, Christian, a homeless man, was unable to find any place to go with his dog Buddy, who was shivering badly in the record breaking temperature of -16C and ended up dying in his arms that night. The City of Montreal has already been taking steps towards tackling the problem of homelessness and has just announced they will be opening a special winter shelter for those living on the streets, hopefully within two weeks. It is good news indeed, but unfortunately too late for Buddy.
According to Montreal city Councilor Rosannie Filato, who is responsible for the homeless, they are looking for a place where people can eventually go for more than just a night in a warm bed. The old Royal Victoria Hospital building, where they could open up at least 80 beds for now, is seriously being considered. The plan is to have an area for men and another area for women – and a place for those with their animals. The Welcome Hall Mission, Maison du Pere, Accueil Bonneau and the Old Brewery Mission will work together to manage it.
It estimated there are 2,500 to 3,500 homeless people on the streets in Montreal on any given night – and why the city’s goal goes beyond just the 80 beds. They are hoping to offer a wider range of services, working together with community groups and health officials. Last March, Montreal announced a $7.8 million project to improve the plight of the homeless. It includes plans for a new ‘wet shelter’ (where alcoholics living on the streets will be able to get help to manage their alcoholism and gain access to longer-term care), 950 more housing units over the next three years for those who want to get off the street, more resources for those on the street, tools to promote social inclusion, as well as more safety at Welcome Centres.