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The future home for the homeless promises improvements

The new $4.3 million home for Chicoutimi’s homeless, Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, should improve homelessness downtown when it opens.

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We’ll find out at the end of next June, when it opens.

This new house, located in the former cloister of Servantes du Très-Saint-Sacrement, will provide much more space. The transformations are visible in the monastery a few months after the start of work.

“It’s extraordinary!” shouted the homeless home’s general manager, Yannick Harvey.

“The residents will be really well housed,” added the Minister responsible for Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean and the deputy of Chicoutimi, Andrée Laforest.

There will be 36 rooms spread over four floors, and a new floor. The house will be more modern than the nuns’ previous spaces. The dining room will be spacious, right next to the kitchen.

In the basement, all the piping has been redesigned, and the building, dating from 1906, has been brought up to standard.

“All the electrical mechanics have been redesigned, we have achieved fire compliance at the pipe level,” said project manager Sebastien Malthes, from Gigari. “We found asbestos, but we expected it, and it wasn’t a big deal. The building is like new.”

“We installed sprinklers and put back the emergency exits,” added Karen Boyle, of the Chicoutimi Municipal Office.

The church would also be easily accessible, possibly for cultural activities.

The current home for the homeless, on La Fontaine Street, is notable for its lack of space. Yannick Harvey added, “We sometimes welcome 45 people a day, in an environment where it should be 20. We can now welcome 76 people in times of crisis.”

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Moving to larger places will facilitate coexistence and improve the quality of services.

“It’s really a safety issue,” Mr. Harvey said. “There are people who do not come to the house because there is no longer any place for it. Now, we can separate our interventions, each in his room, according to the type of sector.

“It may not end homelessness, but it will allow for better control,” said Chicoutimi City Council President Jack Cleary.

The $4.3 million work was funded approximately 50% by the Léonce-Bouchard, which includes four charities.