Calls for more help for homeless after desecration at historic church in Montreal
MONTREAL -- Members of the Union United Church came to the house of worship to pick up food for its popular food bank Wednesday afternoon to find the stairs strewn with human waste and the back wall covered in graffiti.
“They left everything, defecation, soiled underwear,” said Charlene Hunt, the church’s outreach chairwoman. They left it on the stairs, they wiped themselves and left the tissues.”
Some of the congregation wants the city to increase services for the homeless and drug-addicted population in the area.
“Number one. I feel like it’s time for Montreal to start thinking about having public bathrooms [nearby],” said Vince Telemaque, the church’s outreach coordinator. “And number two, we really need to start to think about the drug issue.”
The church is adjacent to the Lionel-Groulx Metro station, with a public path running behind it.
Some who work with people living on the street say increasing services is not a cure-all for deep underlying issues.
“There is a school of thought that says, ‘Hey, these people are on the street, let’s provide them with everything they need on the street,'” said Sam Watts, Welcome Hall Mission CEO. “But at the same time, we need to be doing what we should be doing, and solving the problem we have and meeting the need that they have.”
Watts said helping people find a permanent home would go a long way toward doing that.