Czech invention could help Montreal homeless stay warm without visiting shelters in pandemic
MONTREAL -- In the parking lot of the CARE Montreal shelter on Viau, there is a small hangar-shaped container protruding above a bank of snow. A closer look reveals small holes that act as ventilation, and a layer of foil insulation. This is a product made in the Czech Republic called an igloo.
According to Michel Monette, CARE Montreal’s general manager, the organization has bought 20 of the small shelters — five of which can house two people.
In one of the singles, an individual inside can stay 15 degrees warmer than the outside temperature. In one of the doubles, two people can stay 20 degrees warmer.
It is part of a pilot project the shelter is launching that was conceived in August when it partnered with doctoral researcher Caroline LeBlanc of the Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation. It aims to reach out to members of the homeless population who don’t feel that staying is a shelter is safe or appropriate.
“Any person who is homeless and can’t come to our shelter, we will go there and install an igloo,” Monette said.
It is a project that has taken on new significance under Quebec’s curfew. Recently a homeless man died inside of a portable toilet after curfew hours. The shelter he normally affiliates with had been closed.
Each shelter costs $400, but it costs double that to ship them to Montreal. Monette is hoping for the public’s help in defraying the cost in an effort to make sure Montreal’s homeless population can make it through the winter with a roof overhead.
“We want to bring the shelter to them instead of taking them to the shelter,” he said.