A dozen homeless have erected an encampment in the vicinity of the rue Notre-Dame, then, Is that the reception centres, temporary who have hosted during the pandemic are closing one after the other.
“Between a hut and a camping site, to be honest, I prefer camping,” says Jacques, alias “Pebbles”, who has elected domicile there are a dozen days on the piece of ground which belongs to the ministry of Transport of Quebec.
His red tent is one of the eight planted a few meters from a park in the district of Mercier–Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, who has a chemical toilet and where organizations distribute up to 250 meals per day.
That such a camp way the day is not surprising as Sylvie Boivin, executive director of the organization Anonymous, which makes interventions in the district.
Major canadian cities such as Toronto or Vancouver, and even Montreal in the past, are experiencing the same phenomenon. “People are living at their own pace, they do not need to leave in the morning [as a shelter], it works more with their way of life,” she says.
Where to go?
James, 59 years, is a victim of the “rénoviction”: in January last, his rent became too expensive for his means after major renovations by the owner. Since then, it has been housed in various shelters and at the hotel Chrome, mandated by Montreal to host homeless people during the pandemic.
However, the hotel has regained its original function in June, and several other temporary shelters set up by Montreal closed their doors. Jacques found himself in the street, as were many others.
“With the closure of these sites, we [saw] a level of traffic that far exceeds our capacity to respond”, is concerned about the president-director general of the Old Brewery Mission, Matthew Pearce.
In fact, the Mission can only use 160 of 285 beds, which requires it to refuse access to certain people in search of a roof, an exceptional situation that has been troubling Mr. Pearce. The appearance of these temporary shelters at the edge of the street represents in his eyes the sign of a lack of emergency beds to Montreal.
A changing district
The camp began to attract the attention of the inhabitants of the district in the last days. “If the City let that happen, how many tents will there be?”, to request a citizen who lives in Hochelaga for the past 20 years.
“Hochelaga is a neighborhood that is gentrifie. It has consequences,” recalls Martin Pagé, director-general of the organization of Dopamine.
For its part, the police Department of the City of Montreal says it has not received any complaints about the camp. The expulsion of homeless people who settle temporarily in public places is “not systematic”, has added via e-mail.
Other tents make their appearance in the next few days on the ground? No doubt, considers Stéphane, who has also planted his own not far away.
The department of Transportation and the City of Montreal had not responded to our queries at the time of publishing this article.