Homeless encampments | The opposition urges Quebec to do more

“Municipalities have been sounding the alarm for months! »




What there is to know

  • Opposition parties in Quebec accuse François Legault’s government of not doing enough to curb the housing crisis – the increase in homeless encampments resulting from said crisis.
  • Makeshift shelters have taken on an unprecedented scale in Quebec, and not just in Montreal, revealed The Press Monday.
  • More than 600 camps were dismantled last year and 126 others are known, but not dismantled by the authorities, according to new data obtained in 20 towns and cities.

President of the Union of Municipalities of Quebec (UMQ) and mayor of Varennes, Martin Damphousse insists that municipalities “try to meet the needs of their community” as best they can within the limits of their powers and budgetary capacities. .

Makeshift shelters have taken on an unprecedented scale in Quebec, and not just in Montreal, it was revealed on Monday.

More than 600 camps were dismantled last year and 126 others are known, but not dismantled by the authorities, according to new data obtained in 20 towns and cities.

“Beyond costs, it is necessary to have a global vision and close collaboration between all partners in order to improve access to services for people experiencing homelessness,” argues the president of the UMQ , who wants an inclusive and united strategy.

The CAQ singled out

In Quebec, opposition parties accuse François Legault’s government of not doing enough to curb the housing crisis; the increase in homeless encampments resulting from the said crisis.

PHOTO OLIVIER JEAN, LA PRESSE ARCHIVES

Homeless camp in Longueuil

Official opposition spokesperson for the fight against homelessness, Elisabeth Prass believes that the encampments should not be dismantled if the Ministry of Health and Social Services and the cities are not able to offer a alternative accommodation.

Rather than dismantling these camps, the government should quickly mobilize additional resources by offering basic services to people experiencing homelessness, in order to improve their daily lives.

Elisabeth Prass, liberal MP

“At least, with the camps,” workers can reach homeless people who need their services, argues the spokesperson for the official opposition in the fight against homelessness.

The record number of camps revealed by The Press is “the demonstration that the government (of the Coalition Avenir Québec) is not taking the housing crisis seriously enough,” says Alexandre Leduc, of Québec solidaire (QS).

PHOTO OLIVIER JEAN, LA PRESSE ARCHIVES

Police officer inspecting a homeless encampment in Sherbrooke

Because “the fundamental problem” which causes so many people to find themselves living in tents, “is the housing crisis”, recalls the solidarity MP.

While Bill 31 on housing has still not been adopted in Quebec, “it is not too late to amend it in order to integrate solutions to the crisis such as the creation of a register of rents,” suggests Mr. Leduc.

For his part, Joël Arseneau, spokesperson for the Parti Québécois (PQ) in matters of health and social services, points out “the inability of the CAQ to recognize and then act in the face of the housing crisis which has exacerbated the situation throughout Quebec.

PHOTO OLIVIER JEAN, LA PRESSE ARCHIVES

Homeless encampment in Montreal

“The homelessness crisis currently occurring throughout Quebec is extremely worrying and continues to grow,” continues the PQ MP. The number of visible homeless people in Quebec has doubled since the CAQ came to power in 2018, a phenomenon which will unfortunately continue to increase as long as we settle for half measures and management of perpetual crisis. » The Quebec government must set itself the objective of achieving zero homelessness, believes the PQ, which suggests, among other things, to achieve this, tripling the amounts allocated to the fight against homelessness in the various government programs, in addition to to begin “a vast social housing construction project”.

Quebec defends its work

In the office of the Minister responsible for Social Services, Lionel Carmant, we defend the work of the government.

“Ensuring that the most vulnerable people have a roof over their heads and that they benefit from the best possible services is a priority,” assures its press secretary, Lambert Drainville, in an email sent to The Press. He recalls that Minister Carmant presented in 2021 the first national plan to combat homelessness with a budget of $280 million.

Last November, adds Mr. Drainville, the CAQ announced $123 million more in homelessness, “amounts which have already made it possible to add hundreds of shelter places before the arrival of winter and which will allow us to continue to add new resources in all regions of Quebec,” he says.

“We continue to closely monitor the homelessness situation and work jointly with the CI(U)SSS and the municipalities in order to take coordinated action,” Minister Carmant’s office is assured. In the long term, the solution will inevitably involve more transitional accommodation and supervised accommodation places, in order to be able to bring vulnerable people back into housing and, at the same time, free up shelter beds. We are working on it, all together in government. »


reference: www.lapresse.ca

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