A new day shelter will open in a few weeks near Cabot Square
MONTREAL -- A new day shelter to help Montreal's homeless population is getting ready to open its doors near Cabot Square.
It's a move outreach workers and shelter directors are calling a direly-needed service that could save lives in the downtown Montreal neighbourhood. This comes after 14 people died in the area over the past year.
The sector was previously serviced by the Open Door shelter, which aided the neighbourhood’s predominantly First Nations homeless population. It was forced to move to a new location in 2018 to make way for a new development.
Since then, social workers say they’ve noticed an increase in violence in the area, as well as more cases of people in crisis or needing urgent medical care.
The Resilience Montreal project is being spearheaded by the directors of the Native Women's Shelter of Montreal and the Nazareth Community.
"I would have wanted to open this, months ago. We were starting to talk with the city in July about creating a budget and finding funders and finding a location,” said Nakuset, executive director of the Native Women's Shelter.
“The need is now. So, even though we won't open for probably another two to three weeks, it's now.”
The wet shelter will be open 365 days a year, accepting people in any condition without judgement – whether they be intoxicated, experiencing a mental health crisis or simply in need of a place to stay.
The shelter will also include yoga classes, reiki, haircuts and manicures, as well as substance abuse counselling, a resource centre and access to basic necessities such as food, a place to sleep and showers.
“I'm hoping that the population at Cabot Square can hold on a little bit longer, because I feel for them every time I walk by the area,” Nakuset told CTV News.
“I'm like, soon, don't worry. We got [your] back. Just give me a little bit more time."
The shelter will replace a sushi restaurant at the corner of Atwater and Saint Catherine streets, having secured a lease for one year.
After that, it will have to relocate to a permanent home. Nakuset explains the shelter’s directors are already looking into the move, adding that all the renovations will be covered by Architecture Without Borders Quebec.
Resilience Montreal is expected to open its doors in early November.