By 6 p.m. Thursday evening, the Montreal Soccer Stadium, located on Papineau Street, will welcome homeless people. The place, temporarily transformed into a refuge, will be able to accommodate up to 300 people.
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Outside, the sound of a jackhammer is easily recognizable, as workers are busy setting up a marquee. This should make it possible to test the clientele of the temporary refuge.
Serving as a hot zone, the refuge will welcome infected people, who can do their quarantine in groups.
“We received a request from the health network on Friday evening, and today the center is operational. It’s incredible, ”enthuses the mayoress of Montreal, Valérie Plante, who sees it as an example of the ingenuity and the capacity for collaboration of the various parties involved.
Inside, the soccer field is unrecognizable. The curtains normally delimiting the sports grounds are used this time to separate the different sections of the refuge. In each of them, rows of cots are lined up, each two meters apart.
A little further, in another section, a large number of seats are installed in front of a television, constituting the rest area of the place.
“In winter, in very cold weather, we take even more precise actions. The pandemic has once again exacerbated the needs for all these people, ”declared Chantal Rouleau, Minister responsible for the Metropolis and the Montreal region.
The opening of a refuge in the Soccer Stadium was first announced Tuesday by Mayor Valérie Plante, during a press briefing held following the death of a homeless person due to the extreme cold.
With a total of 1,800 places will be available in the various refuges in the metropolis. The Stadium will make it possible to relieve and alleviate the burden of places already available.