Quebec is investing in a permanent supportive housing project for homeless Aboriginal people.
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“We are not in crisis intervention, we are talking rather about supervised apartments, adapted to the First Nations, to the Inuit, to enable them to get out of this situation”, explained yesterday the Minister responsible for Aboriginal Affairs, Ian Lafreniere.
The latter announced financial assistance of $600,000 to the organization Projets aboriginals du Québec for the renovation and development of the Maison PAQ.
Converted old hotel
The building, a former hotel, is located on St-Hubert Street in Montreal, near Viger Street. A total of 18 units will be offered, accommodating 22 people.
“So some couples will be able to live there, which is often not possible in other shelters,” said Mr. Lafrenière.
Maison PAQ will also accept people struggling with chronic and severe alcohol addiction.
“It’s a great offer of services for people who have alcohol addictions because in many shelters and social housing, alcohol consumption is not allowed. But we have to adapt the services. It’s a harm reduction approach, you have to meet people where they are,” explained Heather Johnson, executive director of Quebec Native Projects.
Several services will thus be offered to residents, such as access to an alcohol consumption management program, medical visits to the hospital, access to an expert mental health worker, as well as to an Aboriginal elder. . Responders will also be on site 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Ms. Johnson recalls that 15% of the homeless population is Aboriginal. An overrepresentation, since the Aboriginals represent 1 or 2% of the general population, she specified.
Remember that in the past year, two homeless Aboriginal people froze to death in Montreal.