Homeless people from Gatineau, Ottawa, like many Quebecers, will move to 1he is July, from the temporary emergency shelter set up in Robert Gorten Square to the Montcalm motel where dozens of rooms will be permanently reserved for them.
Approximately 70 homeless people will be able to make use of the place, in a single or double room. According to the motel’s website on Boulevard Gréber, all rooms are equipped with air conditioning, TV, mini fridge, and free internet. The indoor outdoor swimming pool is open during the summer season.
“The plaza did not provide a conducive environment. This context would allow for housing stability which would lead to a better path towards social reintegration,” said René Amiot, Chair of the Gatineau Commission, Vail en Santi.
“The actions we are taking today and those to come are in line with the clinical vision for those clients who are most in need of support, services and care,” said Jose Filion, president and CEO of the center. Integrated Health and Social Services (CISSS) from Ottawa.
An envelope of $3 million to $5 million is planned for this project, including $800,000 to rent rooms for next year and a similar amount to provide various on-site services to its occupants.
The Regional Consortium Against Homelessness in Awais (CRIO) welcomes this announcement with some reservations, particularly regarding the location of the new shelter. Motel Montcalm is just over five kilometers, or more than an hour’s walk, from the main service centre, Le Gîte Ami, which has just 40 venues.
However, Robert-Gourtin Square, which became a temporary emergency shelter in May 2020, was next door to Gîte Ami. Despite everything, many homeless people chose to pitch their tents nearby along the stream of the brewery. With this move, CRIO anticipates an increase in urban camping.
We know this new shelter won’t be for everyone. “Some people will not want to move, because that could mean losing their social network and more difficulty accessing certain services,” said Alexander Dechin, the group’s community organizer.
The improvised camp dismantling by municipal officials and Gatineau police officers is also repeated from year to year. Since the beginning of spring, there have already been two such cleaning and evacuation sessions.
The COVID-19 pandemic and housing crisis have increased the number of homeless people in Gatineau, particularly given its proximity to Ottawa. According to unofficial statistics, between 500 and 600 people are at risk of homelessness in Awais.