Movement to end homelessness finds housing for hundreds
Published Wednesday, July 12, 2017 8:19PM EDT
Groups that assist homeless people say they are well on their way to getting 2,000 Montrealers off the streets and into housing by the year 2020.
The Movement to End Homelessness in Montreal (MMFIM) unveiled a web tool on Wednesday that helps identify and keep track of homeless people who get help from a dozen different charity organizations in the city.
A survey conducted several years ago showed that roughly 3,000 people living in Montreal were homeless, either living on the streets or without a permanent address. Until that survey, groups estimated there were as many as 30,000 homeless people in Montreal.
That prompted MMFIM, in 2015, to endeavour to get homes for 2,000 people by 2020.
"Five years to collect, orient, accompany, support and provide stable housing for people in order to change the trajectory of their lives," said MMFIM president Sonya Cormier.
MMFIM's web tool shows the public how many people have found housing, and how many visits with charity workers homeless people have in any given year.
"Among the 552 people who have been housed, the majority are men, at 68 percent," said Cormier. "The vast majority who are being housed are between 30 and 65 years old. And with regards to stability, more than 50 percent have been housed for more than 12 months."
She added that 85 percent of those being housed earn less than $1,000 per month, and that most are spending up to $700 per month on rent. About 25 percent do not receive any rent subsidies.
One of the formerly homeless people is 39-year-old single mother Sheri Pronto, who said she spent years "couch-surfing" before being helped by a women's shelter.
"It wasn't fun and it was stressed not having my own place," said Pronto.
"I got this apartment through Chez Doris which was actually a godsend because they have an aboriginal housing program and without their help I would not have got this on my own. Number one I dont have any credit and number two I have never lived on my own before."
Unable to work for several years due to health problems, Pronto is now working part-time at a hospital.
On Wednesday federal Family Minister Jean-Yves Duclos confirmed the federal government will provide MMFIM with more than $60,000 to improve its data collection tool.
Ottawa has already pledged nearly $120 million over two years to reduce homelessness by testing new methods of dealing with the problem.
About 150 people are being housed through the PRISM program run by the Old Brewery Mission.
Matthew Pearce of the Old Brewery Mission said the groups are doing well to find people places to live, and to find them the funding necessary to live there.
He said his next goal is to prevent people from becoming homeless in the first place.