Helping the homeless – The Benedict Labre House

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In a run-down section of Griffintown we find the Benedict Labre House, a day-center for the homeless and the poor located in this area since 1952. The House, a three-story building, is a home in itself. When one walks through the front door, he is greeted by delicious scents of the daily home cooked meal being prepared. This organization offers three meals a day, Tuesday through Thursday; two meals on Monday and  large “supper sized” lunches on both Saturday and Sunday. Their famous pancakes and French toast are served on Tuesday and Thursday mornings respectively. The cook does marvel with the food received from Moisson Montréal, the food bank that provides food to community organizations in the city. The House is also blessed with hundreds of volunteers who come in with food and cook meals for our guests and with many generous donators who help by giving fruits and vegetables, as well as meat. In the summer, the backyard is regularly filled with people enjoying organized barbecues. Labre House staff often says that food is a wonderful tool to reach out: one can better think about his future and changes to make in his life with his stomach full.

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Food is a way to draw people to the Benedict Labre House, but it is far from being the only service provided. One can get clean clothes, shower, relax, make phone calls and talk to one of the intervention workers. One can look for apartments and fill forms for social housing, participate in the computer class, or reintegrate the workforce by participating in the employment program. There are currently nine individuals on this program.

2013 art course, offered by the Concordia art course students.
Art course, offered by the Concordia art course students.

There are few places to spend the day when you are homeless in Montreal. Once the missions close in the morning, individuals end up going to one of the day centers to grab a bite and spend a part of the day, or end up in a commercial center or on the streets. There are also many individuals who will not sleep in missions; therefore these people who sleep in squats, alleyways or walk all night will rush into one of the day centers as soon as the doors open to be away from the elements. There are places where you can only eat, then you have to leave, and others where you can spend the day. There are outreach workers who meet the people where they are and accompany them to their appointments. Once one is ready to get off the streets, he or she needs help to get back on his feet: find an apartment with a welfare check, for instance, get his identity cards, get some furniture. The Benedict Labre House helps its guests with dishes and sheets and government papers. Everything that is handed to its guests comes from the community.

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   At the end of any given day, Labre House has fed and sheltered about one hundred men and women of Montreal. That’s one hundred people with a roof over their head for the day. “That’s the least we can do.”

For more information about The Benedict Labre House visit their website www.benedictlabre.org or call 514-937-5973 or 438-520-3880 and speak to one of their helpful staff.

To give a donation please contact the:

Benedict Labre House

514-937-5973 www.benedictlabre.org

308 Young street, Montreal, Quebec, H3C 2G2

Other articles from mtltimes.ca – totimes.ca – otttimes.ca

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