Homeless shelter closed in protest
Published Monday, June 7, 2010 8:37AM EDT
In protest of what it calls a lack of government funding for Quebec's poor and homeless, Accueil Bonneau is closing its doors for 24 hours Monday, despite the government's announcement Sunday of a $7-billion plan to fight poverty.
The plan includes a tax credit, working incentive cash and funds to mobilize groups to fight poverty, explained Employment Minister Sam Hamad.
While the Quebec government announced Sunday actions it plans to take to alleviate poverty, including putting forth the sum over the next five years, protestors from homeless shelter Accueil Bonneau said they weren't satisfied.
The organization took the unusual step of announcing it would issue a 24-hour strike to protest the lack of funding.
The organization, which has been working non-stop with the poor and homeless for 133 years, said it needs monetary support to keep its head above water.
"We're asking for $500,000 this year, right now," said Jean-Philippe Dugre from Accueil Bonneau.
Matthew Pearce from The Old Brewery Mission said his shelter is facing the same struggles.
"Clearly they're feeling very stretched. So are we. The Old Brewery Mission functions with an annual deficit that we try to overcome from fundraising and so on," he said.
Beyond money for homeless shelters is a need for a higher guaranteed minimum income, protestors argues Sunday.
They said the minimum income should be $10,000, up from the current welfare income of as little as $7,200.
"I don't think that's a society that we want to live in where people are starving or sleeping in the streets," said Amelie Chateauneuf from Welfare Common Front.
Hamad said that sum is unrealistic.
"It's around an additional $2 billion dollars per year for the next five years," said Hamad.