With the coronavirus closing down day centres and some emergency accommodation places, many homeless people are turning to Montreal’s metro stations for shelter. Mayor Valerie Plante ordered the Social Development Society (SDS) to deploy social intervention teams to support homeless people on the orange and green lines.
Credit: Christopher Forsyth
Plante said in a news release, “By providing more support to vulnerable people, we hope to be able to improve cohabitation in the metro and in public space and to offer people in homelessness the appropriate resources, both in terms of accommodation and food aid.”
These teams will work as a mediator to minimize the amount of police interventions with the homeless. Last weekend, the first SDS teams (working closely with STM employees) met over 130 homeless people in downtown metro stations to offer them psychosocial support and information on existing resources. They also informed them of the new public health guidelines due to the pandemic.
On April 20th, a fourth drop-in centre opened at Dawson College near Cabot Square. The other three centres are located at Grande Bibliotheque, inside the Francis-Bouillon arena, and in the Saint-Georges Anglican Church.
Since regular shelters are have reduced their number of beds due to social distancing rules, the city has opened six outdoor day centres to offer homeless people meals, access to health stations, and emergency accommodation. Since the start of the pandemic, shelters have been opened at the Guy-Favreau Complex, the downtown YMCA, the Bonsecours Market and at the Jean-Claude-Malepart centre.