Will Montreal’s West Island get a homeless shelter in face of growing demand?

Will Montreal’s West Island get a homeless shelter in face of growing demand?
Tania Charron, the executive director of Action Jeunesse de l’Ouest-de-l’Île (AJOI), says the place located on Gouin Boulevard West in Pierrefonds-Roxboro could serve as a hybrid housing centre — a mix of social housing for low-income earners and a shelter with emergency beds for overnight accommodation.

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Charron estimates there are between 150 to 200 homeless people in the West Island but they don’t live on the streets. They are commonly referred to as the “hidden homeless.”

“Not all are sleeping on the streets but they’re living with their friend of they’re about to lose their apartment,” Charron said.

“And they need the help of the outreach worker.”

In Montreal, shelters are full and the shuttles that pick people up and bring them to overnight beds don’t serve the West Island.

Benoit Langevin, a Montreal city councillor who represents the district of Bois-de-Liesse in the Pierrefonds-Roxboro borough, insists it’s long overdue for city officials to take action and help the most vulnerable in the West Island.

“I think it’s time we start investing. We’ve been vocal, we’ve been saying it,” he said.

A study is now being conducted by West Island public health officials to look into all the needs for the most vulnerable people in the expansive area.

“You have a few homeless in many cities and I’m not sure if you build a shelter in one borough, in one area, that will cover all the needs.”
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