“Several thousand” housing units must be built for homeless and vulnerable people, in a context of housing and homelessness crisis in Quebec, according to Fiona Crossing, general director of Accueil Bonneau.
“The crux of the matter at the moment is the construction of housing, period. Of all kinds, but mainly social housing, affordable housing, housing that organizations like Accueil Bonneau will be able to manage. It takes several thousand, not just hundreds,” asked Fiona Crossling at a press conference on Monday.
Mme Crossling had invited politicians and media to the inauguration of Christin, a building of 114 apartments in the heart of Montreal, intended to house homeless people and people at risk of becoming homeless, young people leaving the DPJ, refugees or other vulnerable tenants, of all ages.
To emphasize that the needs are dire, she recalled that the last count, in October 2022, which identified 10,000 people experiencing homelessness in Quebec, was only the tip of the iceberg, and that the projects in courses could not meet the demand.
The minister responsible for social services, Lionel Carmant, present at the inauguration, tried to defend his government’s record in the fight against homelessness. “In the last economic update, there was an addition of 500 places for housing for people experiencing homelessness, to remove pressure on shelters and improve living conditions,” he said. said.
According to Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante, 18 projects have added 802 housing units for vulnerable people since 2018 in Montreal, and 15 other projects are in progress, for a total of 400 additional units.
Of the 114 housing units in the Le Christin building, 30 are currently occupied, 12 tenants have confirmed their arrival, around thirty have reserved units and more than 100 files have been opened.
Why is it taking so long to distribute apartments, when people are sleeping outside in Montreal currently?
“It can take a long time to put together files, because it’s a whole process of meeting people, understanding their needs, understanding if Le Christin meets their needs or if there are other types of housing that suit them better,” says Fiona Crossling.
Read “A new building for the homeless that is still little used”
Stakeholders are stationed in the new building, mainly to ensure that the integration of tenants goes well and to defuse any disputes that could break out. They can also offer help with certain government and legal procedures as well as with residents’ financial management.
We are targeting a mixed but independent clientele. People who need more significant psychosocial interventions are referred to other resources.
Monique Charette, 67, is delighted with the small accommodation she has occupied in Christin since December. Last year, she lost the home she had lived in for 15 years. Without resources, she found herself in a homeless shelter for 24 hours, then for a few months in a temporary resource.
“Arriving here was like a rebirth for me,” she says. I got a taste for life again. I hope I can stay a long time. »