Shelters aim to keep homeless from killer cold
Published Wednesday, January 2, 2013 5:58PM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, January 2, 2013 6:24PM EST
MONTREAL - Almost all Montrealers will be at home bundled up tight in a cold night tonight, as the chill is expected to go down to -24 Celsius.
But for Montreal’s homeless population, the bone-chilling cold becomes a life-and-death issue.
Local homeless shelters vow to make sure everybody gets inside, without exception.
“It's still pretty bad when it's minus 10 but when it gets this cold, we have to make sure our systems are on go. We will make sure no one will be left behind,” said Matthew Pearce of the Old Brewery Mission.
City missions share a minibus that shuttles the homeless between the various shelters, so the maximum number of people can find a bed.
However some homeless simply refuse to go inside due to mental illness.
Three years ago a homeless man died of exposure in a downtown park and since then, many shelters have come up with alternatives to encourage more people to move inside when it gets too cold.
The Old Brewery Mission opened a daytime cafe, where those with nowhere to go can get hot drinks and other support.
“We have counselors on site who work with them with situations which they may face, like employment or housing.
But on days like these, the daily goal is simply to find a warm bed,” said Pearce.