Montreal and the Quebec government inaugurated Thursday a new large shelter for homeless people infected with COVID-19, in a municipal soccer stadium in Ahuntsic.
The facility, on avenue Papineau, has approximately 350 spaces. It opened its doors Thursday morning.
“The pandemic has once again exacerbated the needs,” said Chantal Rouleau, Minister of Metropolitan France. “We don’t want to leave anyone outside, no one behind. ”
Itinerants who show up on site will be tested at the entrance. Only infected individuals will be able to enter inside, where they will spend their group isolation.
These places bring the number of emergency beds available to homeless people in Montreal to approximately 1,800.
“This morning, I am very proud to show you the ability of all stakeholders to work together,” said Valérie Plante.
The soccer stadium was equipped with camp beds, a cafeteria, a relaxation room and cubicles for receiving treatment. One area is reserved for women, who usually represent 15% of the clientele of the community network. The Old Brewery Mission manages the site.
According to figures available to the health network, around fifty homeless people currently catch COVID-19 every day in Montreal. Earlier this week, it was estimated that 500 of them had the disease.
At a press briefing, Mayor Plante insisted on stressing that homelessness was a responsibility of the provincial government and that the role of the metropolis was to provide physical places for the social services network. “The City of Montreal, we will always be present. We showed it: last year, we made places, ”she said.
Asked again about the death of a septuagenarian earlier this week, Mr.me Plante said the man had lived in his makeshift shelter for several years and refused to move into a shelter. “You can’t move people by force,” she said.
In the medium and long term, the solution is to invest heavily in social housing, added the mayor.