Last March, the Legault government pledged to pay $ 120 million within five years to the network of shelters for women victims of violence, including $ 24 million in the short term, to meet urgent needs. But the houses still haven’t seen a single penny of the money promised.
In addition, it is accepted that these sums will only serve to keep the network afloat, not allowing any new place to be created, nor any new house to be opened, and leaving the waiting lists to grow ever longer.
Thursday, in the House, the Prime Minister Francois Legault appeared ill at ease when he was questioned by the parliamentary head of Solidarity Quebec, Manon Massé, who wanted to know why the money promised in March had still not been paid.
“As for me, it should already be done,” admitted the Prime Minister, admitting not to be aware of the file, and while acknowledging that the $ 24 million was expected “quickly”.
Each year, due to lack of space, shelters must refuse between 10,000 and 15,000 requests from abused women seeking temporary refuge.
In a telephone interview, the president of the Federation of shelters, Manon Monastasse, explained that the process of negotiating the financial framework would soon come to an end, after months of discussions with the government, both for emergency homes than those called second stage, which offer longer stays of one to two years.
“In January or February”, nearly a year after the announcement of March 10, the federation expects to finally receive the long-awaited checks and to be able to distribute them to homes, hopes Mr.me Monastasse.
Not only is the government slow to fulfill its promises, but it is resisting increasing the recurrent funding of the network of 36 houses, a request made many times, in order to better meet the ever-growing needs, she deplores. .
“The needs are very glaring” and with the money promised in March, “we will not be able to develop our services”, she said, recalling that the houses are still operating “at full capacity”.
“It’s urgent, because it’s really a crisis” that the network is currently experiencing, forced to “refuse women for lack of places”. She adds that “in a sector like ours, this is absolutely unacceptable”.
It is estimated that $ 50 million would be needed to open houses and thus better meet demand in all regions of Quebec, some of which are very poorly served.
This is without taking into account the special needs of some, such as disabled or immigrant women.
“We have a major development need,” she observes.