Montreal wants to hire a coordinator for the dismantling of makeshift camps

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Montréal wants to hire a coordinator for the dismantling of makeshift camps

The incumbent will have to ensure the “smooth running” of the dismantling “from the beginning to the end of the operations”.

The City of Montreal wants to have “a ) homelessness liaison officer” whose main function will be to deal with the eviction of homeless people from illegal camps – a job offer that has angered community stakeholders.

The person chosen will be responsible for coordinating the actions to be taken during the eviction or dismantling of temporary shelters, camps and tents on public and private property.

She will also have to answer citizens' complaints about makeshift shelters, contact the owners of the premises to ensure their cooperation and direct homeless people to organizations that can help them.

Posted in early July , the job offer expired on Wednesday. The salary offered varies between $56,000 and $73,000.

It is very worrying for us that the municipalities and the City decide to offer positions like this with a really high salary when we know that there are a lack of resources and funding everywhere, indignant Catherine Marcoux, of the Network to help single and homeless people in Montreal (RAPSIM), who sharply criticizes the initiative of the Plante administration .

What is the logic of pushing people further and further and dismantling them? It is a repressive practice and only disperses people away from their natural networks, she adds.

Many makeshift camps have been dismantled in recent years in the metropolis. The municipal authorities have notably intervened on more than one occasion on the land along the Port of Montreal, along Notre-Dame Street, to force the departure of the occupants. Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante invoked security issues to justify these controversial operations.

Dozens of police have been working since this morning at the makeshift camp on rue Notre-Dame where homeless people have been erecting tents for several months.

Such operations are carried out by social workers with great sensitivity, assures the spokesperson for the City of Montreal Marikym Gaudreault in a press release. We want these operations to be carried out with the greatest respect for vulnerable people in order to redirect them to specialized resources.

Same story from the commissioner for people experiencing homelessness in Montreal, Serge Lareau, who maintains that the person sought will have to act with empathy.

Just because someone is found camping on land doesn't mean they're immediately kicked out, he said in interview at 15-18, adding that it's a job that is done gradually.

Asked whether the City could eventually tolerate and supervise this type of encampment, for example by installing toilet blocks there, Serge Lareau replied that the issue of encampments is not yet the subject of a social consensus.

Ultimately, the municipal administration does not consider this type of shelter to be a permanent [or] safe solution. The City considers that what is important is to develop the refuge, to develop housing, so that these people have an alternative to the street and the camps, he summarized.

Old Brewery Mission President and CEO James Hughes agrees with the priority given to housing. Camps are not a long-term solution, he admitted in an interview with Radio-Canada.

However, he believes that there are better ways to invest that money. Rather than a liaison officer, we would have preferred to have housing officers, he illustrated.

According to him, there is no point in evicting all these people in the context of a housing crisis, especially since most organizations that offer emergency services are overwhelmed.

James Hughes believes that we must stop “packing people from one place to another” and think about more “humanistic” methods of intervention.

The Mission's director of emergency services, Émilie Fortier, indicates that the resources available to the shelters are currently insufficient to meet the needs. The spokesperson for the City of Montreal, Marikym Gaudreault, confirms that there is currently a shortage of 300 places in accommodation in the metropolis.

In this context, Émilie Fortier pleads for measures that can facilitate cohabitation between homeless people, such as the creation of several smaller resources that can accommodate clients.

She points out that for some homeless people, camps are the lesser evil.

It's a matter of choice, she said in an interview with Tout un matin. Because it can be difficult for some homeless people to sleep in dormitories with several other people.

With information from CBC.

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