Another temporary shelter for migrants opens its doors in Ahuntsic-Cartierville
Published Monday, August 7, 2017 12:34PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, August 8, 2017 8:05AM EDT
An additional shelter for migrants and asylum seekers opened its doors in Ahuntsic-Cartierville Monday morning in order to accomodate the influx of families crossing into Quebec.
The Residence Notre-Dame de la Providence, a former home for nuns, will house up to 300 asylum seekers.
A bus containing 12 to 20 refugees arrived at the shelter just before noon, but it was unclear exactly where they originated from.
They will likely have to remain in the shelter for weeks as backgound checks are performed.
The residence, formerly a private convent, was acquired by the city of Montreal in 2016 for $4.6 million in hopes of transforming it into a cultural centre with library facilities.
City Councillor Harout Chitliian, who is the councillor for the region, said the nuns who used to live in the convent had helped Haitians in the past.
"They're saying it's ironic now because they had a lot of different materials in the building that they packed and sent to Haiti, because they just built a school in Haiti, and the irony is that yes, we're helping over there, but our building is also being used temporarily to host these people who most of them are from Haiti."
Asylum seekers are also being housed in numbers at the Olympic Stadium, and at a community centre in Riviere-des-Prairies and Chitilian said the city of Montreal.
"A demand has been made to open other locations," he said. "We cannot confirm right now what that space will be, its capacity, or where it will be. But we have received a request to open another space."
Francine Dupuis, director of the CIUSSS West-Central, said there are roughly 2,400 migrants currently being housed in Montreal.
She pointed out that many of the migrants will be able to find their own lodgings soon enough.
"Our mission is to provide them with a temporary shelter so if they come in, they get their papers on their way, and they get some financial aid, and they get a place identified for them to get out of the temporary shelter, then it's a ball that's rolling and we can manage a lot of them," said Dupuis.
Last week, Immigration Minister Kathleen Weil announced that approximately 150 requests for asylum are received by border officials daily.
In the first six months of this year, 6500 asylum seekers crossed into Quebec near the Lacolle border crossing.
Many of the refugees are fleeing the United States in fear that a policy change by President Trump will mean they will be extradited to Haiti.