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Montreal expects a 15% increase in requests for rehousing assistance for July 1

Photo: Marie-France Coallier Archives Le Devoir As of April 30, 2024, the Montreal Municipal Housing Office had identified 244 requests for rehousing assistance.

Jeanne Corriveau

Posted at 5:08 p.m. Updated at 6:27 p.m.

  • Montreal

Due to the shortage of affordable housing, Montreal expects to receive approximately 15% more requests for rehousing assistance than last year in anticipation of July 1. The City of Montreal has reserved a sum of 3.5 million dollars to deal with the moving period, two million more than in 2019.

Au In recent years, requests for assistance received by the City and the Office municipal d'habitation de Montréal (OMHM) have continued to increase. Finding themselves without a roof over their heads on July 1, some 350 households appealed to the authorities in 2019. Last year, this number rose to 900.

As of April 30, 2024, the OMHM has identified 244 requests for assistance since the start of the year, compared to 204 for the same period last year, Frédéric Roy, deputy director general at the OMHM, said on Wednesday. In 2023, 134 households needed accommodation for an average duration of 70 days.

The services put in place provide, among other things, assistance for research housing, temporary accommodation in hotels and storage of the belongings of homeless households. “These are short-term solutions,” admitted Valérie Plante. “We are really providing additional help to ensure that people do not end up on the street. But the real solution is lots of housing, social housing and affordable housing. We need to build more. »

“With the City’s partner, the OMHM, we are ready to face July 1,” assured the mayor. “But it is bad news that we are forced, year after year, to put more resources into helping people who cannot find housing and who are in a state of distress. »

Dismantled camps

The rehousing assistance services of the City are not accessible to everyone. People experiencing homelessness, particularly those who use shelters or pitch their tents on public property, are instead directed to the health and social services network. Valérie Plante argued that this situation was attributable to the approach adopted by the Quebec government, which relies on accommodation resources and shelters for these people who sometimes need mental health and addiction services.< /p>

The Support Network for Single and Homeless People of Montreal (RAPSIM), which, on Tuesday evening, set up a symbolic encampment made up of a dozen tents in Victoria Square, deplores this approach. “The July 1 operation is an important operation that we welcome,” said Annie Savage, general director of RAPSIM. “But far from everyone accesses this service for rehousing. »

Montreal expects a 15% increase in requests for rehousing assistance for July 1

Photo: Marie-France Coallier Le Devoir RAPSIM set up a camp at Square Victoria on Tuesday evening in solidarity with the homeless.

A person who has been forced to stay — even for just one night — in a shelter does not have access to it, Ms. Savage emphasized. “Operation July 1 is a good program to prevent homelessness, but people who are already in a situation of homelessness or are considered too precarious or have too great needs are automatically shifted towards the middle of homelessness which is overflowing and unfortunately fails to meet the scale of needs. »

RAPSIM is also calling for a moratorium on the dismantling of homeless camps. Last year, at least 460 makeshift camps were dismantled in Montreal. In certain cases, the City shows tolerance. In this regard, Mayor Plante acknowledged that the City's policy regarding encampments was not clear. “There is no wall-to-wall politics because we are dealing with human beings,” she explained. “What we try to do is always to support people in a human way towards resources, considering that a camp is not a way of life. »

Montreal expects a 15% increase in requests for rehousing assistance for July 1

Photo: Marie-France Coallier Le Devoir Anick Desrosiers (right), doctoral student in social work at McGill University, and Léandre Plouffe, citizen and former worker in a shelter, during the RAPSIM press conference, Wednesday

Ms. Plante indicated that RAPSIM had informed the City of its camp project for a limited period and that the City had given its agreement. However, she clarified that her administration did not intend to acquiesce to the organization's request for a moratorium on dismantling. “There are women who have been sexually assaulted because they were sleeping on a park bench or in a tent. A tent does not protect against different types of attacks. As mayor of Montreal and as a city, we cannot accept that it becomes normal for people to live on the streets. »

The mayor added that discussions were continuing with the Minister responsible for Social Services, Lionel Carmant, for the implementation of other intermediate resources for this vulnerable population.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116