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Chinatown residents renew plea to Montreal mayor to address homelessness, crime

The people of Chinatown say they are bearing the brunt of the high number of homeless people in the city.

On Thursday, they led a tour through their community to show local politicians what they're up against.

"Drug transactions that take place here on a daily basis," said Bryant Chang, vice-president of the Chinese Association of Montreal.

On a walk through the neighbourhood, residents did not hold back, telling the leader of the opposition at City Hall what they witness regularly.

"I’ve seen fights break out between dealers and addicts," said Chang.

LISTEN ON CJAD 800 RADIO: Chinese Association of Montreal's Bryant Chang on homelessness and crime in Chinatown

Yet again, Chinatown is calling on the Valérie Plante administration to take action. They say they no longer feel safe because of drugs and crime.

"We want to send a message that we can do something to avoid the drugs, the violence and by having more police presence. We can restore a feeling of safety," said Fo Niemi, the executive director of the Center for Research-Action on Race Relations (CRARR).

They want the mayor to visit Chinatown to see for herself.

"In our past three press conferences, we invited the mayor to spend an evening down here to see how bad the situation is. And for some reason, she’s MIA, missing in action," Chang said.

Mayor Plante says she does go to Chinatown, and she points out there isn’t just one solution.

"We’re acting, we’re acting. And with having more police officers doing more arrests, working with ÉMMIS [L'équipe mobile de médiation et d'intervention sociale], the social workers," she said.

The homeless shelter in Chinatown will soon close and it’s unclear where it will reopen. The shelter did not operate 24/7 and many say that is a problem, especially with winter on the way.

"They send us at 6 o'clock, we're moving outside up to 8 o'clock at night, so it’s 14 hours outside when it's cold and we don’t have anything to do," said Francine, who lives on the street.

Opposition leader Aref Salem says shelters need to be open at all hours to serve the community.

Residents and community advocates say they will continue to put pressure on City Hall until they feel safe in their neighbourhood. Top Stories

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