Due to lack of space in shelters, more and more homeless people are sleeping in the street or in parks in Quebec. The phenomenon has grown considerably since a year and concerned that even residents in the city centre who are afraid to the opportunity for their safety.
The requests for interventions in the area of Lauberivière to the city centre and complaints received at the 311 and 911 have increased 41 % in may, compared to last year, says an internal note to the intent of elected officials, which The Newspaper has obtained a copy.
Several issues have been raised : settlements illegal in the parks and on the banks of the rivière Saint-Charles ; crowds “ominous scary” ; disorders/fights ; occupation of the lobby of the condos and businesses of the sector ; fire in a lobby of a condo (an itinerant who wanted to warm up) ; accumulation of litter in the parks, etc
The police shall, to the grain and intervene regularly in the area of the House Lauberivière, in particular, at park Island Palace, a-t-on could see. A resident of the neighborhood, who did not want to be identified for the purposes of this article, is said to have found at what point the situation deteriorated in 2019 and even more this year.
“It’s worse than ever “
“There, it is worse than ever. I will not dare to cross the park [Island of the Palace], it is rendering at this point, the discomfort. And this is not just simple roaming, there is another thing, and this is not cool. I found a syringe on the ground in front of the door of my office and I assist sometimes of drug transactions “, she said.
“My goal is not to point the customer-there, on the contrary, but I think there’s really a lack of resources. I do not know if it has a link with the COVID, but there are everywhere. It is not necessary to close the eyes on it. “
In 2019, the problems in the sector Lauberivière “have easily doubled compared to previous years,” confirms the internal notes of the City of Quebec. And this year, ” we find that problems related to safety and the impacts on the residents of the area have been reported earlier, as early as mid-may, rather than at the end of June “, we can read.
“At the end of the roll “
The mayor Régis Labeaume himself had launched a cry from the heart last November about the growing phenomenon, even going so far as to say that the City and the police officers were “burnt out” in the fight against homelessness and mental health disorders, despite the higher investments in various resources and assistance programs.
“There has been an increase of homeless persons in Quebec city, I noticed it especially since I live in Saint-Roch. There is no simple answer to explain this increase-there. We are going to invest. We are happy to do so, but it remains the case that we wonder where we are going with all of this. One has the impression that it will not decrease, ” he said.
A new action committee has recently been set up by the ” crisis of homelessness “, with representatives of several agencies, the CIUSSS and the City, to tackle this complex issue.
Excerpts from an internal memorandum to the City of Quebec
- “The employees [of public works] have found an increase in the number of people outside of Lauberivière, in the back yard and the park of the Island of the Palace. “
- “We realize that there are a lot of discarded material [clothes, sleeping bags, trash, etc] on the spot by itinerant persons, including in the park. “
- “We note annually the presence of “visitors, and the homeless” who come to Quebec to spend the summer. This year, we are still witnessing this phenomenon. “
The shelters were outside already before the COVID
The increase in the number of homeless people in Quebec is far from being solely attributable to the pandemic, according to the director general of the House Lauberivière, despite the tens of thousands of job losses.
“The problem was already there. I think we would be in the same situation this year, COVID or not, ” says Eric Boulay in an interview.
“In Quebec, now, homelessness is visible. The city grows, so the problem grows. The shelters are overflowing, ” says-t it. Their new brand-new property, currently under construction, is expected to open its doors in 2021. “We’re going to go from 86 to 149-seat accommodation. This should be helpful for the problem of overflow. “
“Since 2009, we started to be at full capacity, and then every year it increased, and then, the last year, it was hell compared to other years, and there is a little bit higher,” he adds, saying, however, not to have observed more people to the street because of job losses arising from the health crisis.
The phenomenon of crowding around Lauberivière, during meal hours, has, however, been amplified by the health crisis, confirming an internal memo from the City. “The closure of or reduction of community services the city centre as well as the respect of the distancing physics have resulted in a higher number of people travelling around the body “, can we read.
From various regions
“If we search their past, there are people who arrive from the regions. They arrive by the example of the Lac-Saint-Jean, Côte-Nord, Gaspésie. It is the largest centre in the East-du-Québec, so people come to get services in larger cities. Sometimes, it turns out badly, and there was a descent into the street, ” explains Éric Boulay.
Paradoxically, it is said never to have forgiven ” so many people on foot “, thanks to the tools of rehabilitation that it has. “When I started, 22 years ago, I had a lot less levers and tools. To Lauberivière, there are hundreds of people that we put up each month. There are 50% of the people who come only once, and then after, we never see them again. There is a 10 % more chronic, and those ones are more visible. “
As to the fears of some residents in the area, Éric Boulay said very understand ” that the public have this perception, but at times, there is a sense of insecurity more than actual insecurity. It would help perhaps if there was a security officer who can be there, ” he suggests.