Montréal is continuing to deploy concrete measures to support the homeless during the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis. They enhance the measures announced over the past few weeks.
Response in public areas
STM and SPVM personnel are present in the metro and on the streets where many homeless residents live, to direct them to the appropriate services.
The Société de développement social (SDS) was mandated to deploy social response teams to assist homeless people who occupy metro stations along the metro’s orange and green lines. The SDS also works closely with community organizations whose staff works on the frontlines, as well as with the CIUSSS du Centre-Sud-de-l’Île-de-Montréal.
Opening of new resources
A fourth drop-in centre has opened at Dawson College, near Square Cabot. Three drop-in centres have already opened, respectively at the Grande Bibliothèque, in the Francis-Bouillon arena and in Saint-Georges Anglican Church. These initiatives have been made possible through the support of numerous community partners.
Five outdoor day centres have also been set up, in order to offer meals, sanitary facilities and social work services to homeless Montrealers.
A new shelter has also opened at the Maurice-Richard Arena. Since the very beginning of the health crisis, Montréal and its partners, namely the CIUSSS du Centre-Sud-de-l’Île-de-Montréal, the Mission Bon Accueil, the Old Brewery Mission and the Maison du Père, have opened shelters at Complexe Guy-Favreau, at the downtown YMCA, at Marché Bonsecours, and at Centre Jean-Claude-Malépart. An isolation unit has also been set up at the former Royal-Victoria Hospital. Moreover 4 hotels have been requisitioned.
To these shelters, we have added a food truck, so as to reach homeless people in boroughs further away from the downtown core.
Several chemical toilets have been installed in public areas. These mobile washrooms include wash basins which will help homeless residents practice good hygiene at a time when many of their usual points of reference are closed. The washrooms are cleaned regularly.
We are also working with Centraide du Grand Montréal to make sanitary products available to homelessness assistance organizations, such as cleaning products, gloves, disinfectant and wet wipes. An emergency fund was recently launched specifically to put these measures in place.
We have created an emergency unit to support community organizations in order to maintain emergency food assistance services in Montréal. The unit, which is directed by the city, is composed of Centraide, Montréal’s regional public health department, the CIUSSS du Centre-Sud-de-l’Île-de-Montréal, Moisson Montréal, the SAM board and the Club des petits déjeuners.